The instrumentation and arrangement on Otis Read's Turn a Page is absolutely gorgeous, a marvelous blend of folk, prairie, madrigal, and soft rock with Read's voice placed atop, crooning love songs and laments that have, despite a number of dolorous elements, an inevitably positive aspect. His vocal range is a tad limited but well purveyed while the music is just stunning.
Arrangement is a facet that's all too infrequently heeded in modern works, but it pays dividends that listeners go crazy for while rarely apprehending the talent properly, and this guy is a master of it. He integrates every musician with pinpoint precision, pulling every atom of sentiment from them. Phil Edmonds' tin whistle in the title cut and elsewhere is haunting, and Chris Brooks' pedal steel oft waxes languorously hedonistic. Not all the songs are in soft slo-time—Like a Javelin possesses bounce and flair—but even the jumpier cuts resonate with their more thoughtful kin.
Turn A Page is eminently radio- and airwaves-friendly, nailing every attribute that defines the zenith of soft-rock but possessing a good deal more intelligence than the fare normally found there. Only one credit is given for the technical side of the CD—John Wiswell, mastering engineer—but if, on top of everything else, Otis produced and mostly engineered this lavishly sonorous release, then I'm really blown away. If not, then he sure as hell chose the perfect tech(s).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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