You'd never ever guess, after hearing this mellow rock CD, that Ms. Grey is a headbanger in her alternate life. Yep, she fronted a group by the moniker of All Eyes and opened for such heavyweights as Quiet Riot and Cinderella. Here, though, she has much more in common with Ann & Nancy Wilson, Martha Bates, and even echoes of Aimee Mann. What's really unusual, however, is her compositional and arrangement sensibilities. Both have progressive slants oft tending to the orchestral, "Now You Know" being perhaps the most demonstrative in that regard.
Part of what impresses is her choices in drummers: Mark Clark and Charis Hurst (with Brian Widger programming on three cuts), guys who accent the measure perfectly. I am so damned tired of brainless metronomes that it's a pleasure to hear cats who understand their duties to forward the song and not smother or stifle it. Of the two, though, I'm really impressed with Clark. Nothing whirlwind, no great rolling gales of thunder, just well thought out inflections, simple but right. Grey herself is a multi-instrumentalist (acoustic, electric, and slide guitars; piano; synth, harmonica, shakers, etc.), though Widger also provides guitars and keys.
The songs are basically all love-and-regret compositions with vaulting passages, quiet asides, thematic developments, and extended narrative. Though you can rock out in many places, they're actually cuts requiring active listening because a lot is transpiring in many. You'll Believe is one such and carries the kinda build-up that made Heart's Mistral Wind so attractive. Rather than break into the strum und drang of that more famous song, though, it remains in magisterial mode.
Oh, and the CD's title is drawn from the taoist conception of physical reality fractionated into 10,000 manifestations. Apparently she believes, as some taoists and others do, that we're in this world but not of it...but that's not quite right. There's a deeper truth, and it's contained in the Sanskrit saying 'Tat tvam asi' ('Thou art that'). We're in the world, and the world is in us: there's no difference.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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