Sharon Goldman has talent, no doubt. Shake the Stars proves that. Blessed with voice and an affinity for melody, she has two legs of the chair on solid ground. Twelve good songs key on both and one listen could tell you that on stage, she could handle herself as well as the next guy. But most chairs need four legs and while her voice is solid and her melodies enjoyable, the other two legs, those of lyricist and producer, are still works in progress. After listening to this CD numerous times, I am sure they too will reach the ground and I look forward to her next effort, but she is just not quite there yet.
Still, there are some fine moments on this CD. Good supporting cello and light melodic piano give The Rope just the right feel, the song a tribute to lifelong friendship. Opening is eerily beautiful and introspective, made moreso by Pat Wictor's haunting lap steel. The fears and loneliness of the aged is addressed in "The Crosswalk", a song which capsulizes the insecurities of a woman alone in a world in which she struggles to survive. Good songs all.
Actually, there are twelve good songs here, if not for the lyrics, which are too obvious, on the whole. She needs a different voice, one which paints pictures effortlessly, and that will come with time. She nailed Opening and came close on The Crosswalk and The Rope. On the rest, she relies a bit too much on the people and not the real subject matter: the emotion.
As regards production, few people have what it takes to really produce themselves well. There is something about hearing your own voice or your own musicianship that makes them sound just off kilter enough to make it harder than it should be. To my ears, Goldman should have mixed her vocals down a bit, making it blend in more with the instruments. More often than not, she is out front when her voice would serve the song better back with the band. But again, that is just to my ears. It is a good voice and she possibly wanted it to be the lead instrument. It was, after all, her call.
If I sound negative about Shake the Stars, I certainly don't mean to. The mark of any album is how it affects you and the floating piano of The Crosswalk keeps going through my head as does Goldman's fine rendering of Opening. Like I said, the lady has talent. More than enough to make me want to hear her next album.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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