Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Mellow Touch (Music Review: Rita Wilson, AM/FM)

Some of the best vacations I have taken have been the ones where I have doen nothing. My friends and I used to go to this small house in Truro, next to Provincetown, Massachusetts. I remember just lounging by the bay, letting time pass, letting spirit rest. I am reminded by that feeling while I listen to Rita Wilson's album "AM/FM," a collection of songs from the mid to late 70s. I call this kind of music "Mellow Touch."  Before the dawn of Lite-FM, there was the mellow touch - where songs of current singer/songwriters used to thrive. That music had a little more weight than softened versions of pop hits. Rita Wilson apparently loved that musical era, two, which, I believe spawned a second great area of The Great American Songbook. Miss Wilson sings in a sweet, unaffected, honest voice. There is no strain, and she has nothing to prove so she just sings the songs - no melisma, no pyrotechnics needed. It really is a revelation when you just the music speak for itself. I was totally besotted from the first song, "All I Have To Do Is Dream" with Chris Cornell on harmonic vocals with her. Then song after song, sweetness just sweeps, but it is never too saccharine. I think of it as perfect summer afternoon music - let it be your atmosphere as you look at a bay, an ocean, a mountain, an opened fire hydrant in the middle of an urban street. It recalls a more innocent, cynic-free era. I loved the slow-burn version of "Love Has No Pride," the tender promise of "never My Love," the chill of Joni Mitchell's "river." I am sure people long lost feelings of love with her version of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." This is not an album that will grab you right away - it is best listened to slowly to let it simmer. 

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