Mae Robertson has, without a doubt, one of the purest voices in music. A cross between Dinah Shore and Karen Carpenter, it hones an emotional edge few can manage and is pure joy to hear. Add to that voice a great sense of song (the songs here are all written by a plethora of class songwriters), a flawless producer (at least, in this instance), a knockout stable of musicians (to be named later) and a cohesiveness found on all too few albums and you have Dream, one of the best collections of "lullabies and lovesong" (the album's subtitle) ever. Ever. Capital E.
Whether the songs were chosen by Robertson or by committee or divine intervention, the combination is magical. From Dar Williams' outstanding song to child (The One Who Knows), to a song which might have you rethink your view of James Taylor (You Can Close Your Eyes), to Tom Waits' lounge lullabye Midnight Lullaby, you are taken on a magic carpet ride of love and childhood so melodic and beautiful that it lulls you into a dream world. That world is not the real world but what might have been—the world you saw through your own youthful eyes before life stomped on your dreams or at least altered expectations. While not a cure-all, these songs remind us what is really important, and it isn't the economy or the career or any of the mundane everyday things many of us use as mileposts. And if I have to explain further, a little soul searching is in order.
About those musicians. Most worked the sessions for this year's exceptional Meet the Sun Halfway album, another Mae Robertson triumph. One listen to either of these albums and you know why. There is real magic in these grooves, as they would have said in the old days. That magic is provided by Jon Carroll, Pete Huttlinger, Jim Ohlschmidt, Jim Roberts, Steve Fidyk, Charlotte Roberts, the harmonically perfect Penny Nichols, and how can we not mention Webb Robertson's effort on shaker on St. Judy's Comet. One day, they will each look back and realize how truly special these sessions really were.
Writing reviews is sometimes a thankless proposition. The brain gets overloaded and crammed with good but not especially great music and one gets tired, wanting to hear someone speak instead of sing. I'm not saying I would rather hear Mae talk, but I really love hearing her sing. Her voice takes me to that special world alluded to earlier. It is a world of beauty and life and love. It is a world we need to visit more often, given the shape the world is in, and Dream is the perfect portal.
And to think that I wrote this whole thing without using "a-Mae-zing". Damn! Guess I didn't.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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