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LADY OF TURQUOISE

Cary Grace

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Cary Grace Lady of Turquoise album cover
3.89 | 33 ratings | 3 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (45:33)
1. Khepera at the Dawn (4:08)
2. Letterbox (4:35)
3. Without a Trace (5:50)
4. Into Dust (5:21)
5. Afterglow (6:11)
6. Film Noir (7:18)
7. Costume Jewellery (extended version) (12:10)

CD 2 (46:37)
8. Moonflowers (Fade to Black) (6:55)
9. Sacrifice (10:24)
10. Memory (4:09)
11. Castle of Dreams (11:19)
12. The Land of Two Fields (2:08)
13. Lady of Turquoise (11:42)

Total Time 92:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Cary Grace / vocals, synthesizers, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, organ, sampling, sequencing, electronics, sound effects
- John Garden / electric guitar, Prophet-5, drums
- Steffe Sharpstrings / electric guitar
- Victoria Reyes / organ, piano, backing vocals
- Graham Clark / electric guitar, electric violin
- Steve Everitt / string arrangement, electric guitar, lap steel
- Ian East / saxophone
- Andy Bole / bouzouki, laouto
- Andy Budge / bass
- David Payne / drums

Releases information

2CD, Digital
January 31, 2020

Thanks to TCat for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CARY GRACE Lady of Turquoise ratings distribution


3.89
(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
27%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

CARY GRACE Lady of Turquoise reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Cary Grace comes from the US, but makes music that is based from the British psychedelic movement from the late 60s/early 70s. In fact, she is so devoted to it, that she now resides in the England making music, riding motorbikes and running a business making Wiard boutique modular synthesizers. In her early recording years, she moved to Nashville with the singer/songwritier vibe, making more acoustic sounding folk, but with her desire to become more "artful", she went in feet first to explore the psychedelic movements. She began releasing albums in 2004, and since then, has released 7 full-length studio albums and several EPs. Her 7th album was released in January of 2020 and is called "Lady of Turquoise". This lovely album is made up of 13 tracks of psychedelic music with a twist, the songs are based around a more melodic style. What you get, as a result, is a collection of accessible music that also isn't afraid to explore, but not be over-indulgent. There is a plethora of psychedelia here, beautifully made compositions that also keep your attention while still putting you into the right frame of mind. Grace, above everything else, is a sadly ignored artist that should be recognized for her melding of lovely psychedelic music with a strong sense of melody.

"Khepera at the Dawn" begins the album with a nice, layered instrumental, setting the mood for the strong psychedelic sound of the album while exploring a blues-style attitude. "Letterbox" then proves the statements I previously made about her melding of this wonderful psych-pop sound that she makes. Layers of synths and guitars take the listener into familiar territory, reflecting the sounds and ingenuity of Pink Floyd mixed with a sense of the modern, alternative flair which continues in "Without a Trace". However, with "Into Dust", there is an even heavier sense of the dreamy and strange with the sounds of a tortured guitar and Grace's psychedelic-infused vocal manipulations. The spooky guitar effects flow into "Afterglow", which soon takes off in a more moderate rhythm which shows more push from the drums. Keeping with a feeling of distinction between her tracks, this time her lyrics are spoken in a way that demands for you to hear them, even when they are mostly whispered. You'll find yourself drawn into the music, brought there by her hypnotizing use of her voice, then suddenly buried in heavy layers of guitar and synth.

Just when you think you have heard it all, she brings in a beautiful sax to introduce the almost sensual "Film Noir". Again, one is reminded of Pink Floyd, as the combination of structure (melody) and improvisation (free flowing instruments) blend together perfectly. Her folk influences find a perfect home in the 12 minute "Costume Jewellery" as she brings in the mid- Eastern instrumental blend to the psychedelic sound. After several somewhat shorter songs, this track takes time to explore and mesh the psychedelic combination of violin and guitar with the continuing drone-like twanging of the traditional instruments continuing in the background. This track, and some other long ones to follow, only cement Grace's inclusion into the psychedelic genre, allowing her guest musicians ample time to explore her soundscape.

The moderately slow pace of the drums and wandering guitar will bring back your chemically-enhanced memories of early Pink Floyd as she adopts a more free-form style of singing (but still based around a simple melody) and the lead guitar shares the lead with her vocals on "Moonflowers (Fade to Black)". This blues-infected trip in a minor key will make you feel like she is singing and her band is playing just for you, up close and personal. Her controlled angst soon calms, and the music calms with her, and she again hypnotizes you and then later brings back the intensity, the heavy guitar following her perfectly. "Sacrifice" on the other hand, moves to a lighter palette of sound with an easy beat and a more accessible singing style which could easily fit in a radio play-list, except in an edited version since it is over 10 minutes. Even with it's more accessible sound though, it tries to wander off into the unknown, but is always brought back to its more structured style, though it does get more exploratory in the last section.

"Memory" is a nice reflective song with soft guitar backing up Grace's lovely vocals. The melody is quite lovely and, even though it is a shorter track, it takes time to build in emotion and power and then release it all as it comes back down to earth again. "Castle of Dreams" takes us back to long form music with its 11+ minute run time. A quick build brings us out of the melancholy sense of the previous track and a boiling guitar line push Grace's lyrics and vocals out emphasizing their importance, and the guitar swirls and wraps its cries around her vocals. Things level off and float along at a smoother pace after a while. Overall, this sounds more like a Hawkwind-inspired section but with more complicated lyrics, vocals and a better combination of structure/improvisation. This one is the most lyric-heavy of them all, yet every note is important as it uses progressive structure to bring its many moods across. Definitely a highlight among what are already many highlights on this album.

"The Land of Two Fields" is the shortest of the tracks here at just over 2 minutes of instrumental synth-bliss. This melody is continued in the last track, which is the 11+ minute title track. Building off of the previous riff, the music builds in a crescendo and then levels off with an even, moderate beat and lovely melody enhanced by more free-wheeling guitar. The music floats along easily with this beat. Between the short verses are long, flowing passages of musical bliss layered by guitar, synth and the (by now) well-established bass and drum riff. The music goes on and on, and you want it to. It's a perfect foundation for an enticing jam and finally comes in for a landing in the end leaving you only wanting to start it all over again. As far as psychedelic and space rock goes, it is absolutely perfect!

Is it possible to mix structure with psychedelic and space rock wanderings and pull it off? It is, and Cary Grace does it with (dare I say it?) grace! This beautiful and well put together double album deserves to be in the spotlight, by all means. Amazing song writing, beautiful exploratory passages, real-Floydian attitude that comes across as authentic, yet at the same time, very relevant and new sounding. It has been a long time since someone has been able to convince me that we can still be tapped in to the unique sound of the early 70s and not sound like she is trying to copy it, but expand on it and make it something that can appeal to everyone. Easily a 5 star album that will be a contender for the best of a new decade. A masterpiece of psychedelic proportions for the new and old ages, this is an album that should be on everyone's radar in 2020.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
4 stars At the beginning of 2020 Cary returned with her latest album, another double CD set of more than an hour and a half long. All of those involved with her performance at Kozfest 2016 are here, along with John Garden who has played on a number of her other albums, as well as some additional musicians. Most of these musicians only play on a few songs, with her ever-present rhythm section of Andy Budge and David Payne being the exception, as Cary lists herself as providing vocals, synthesizers, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, organ, sampling, sequencing, electronics, and sound effects. Again, we have an incredibly diverse album, but as with her last studio album, 2015's excellent 'Tygerland', I find myself being reminded again of Patti Smith due to her use of words. Just sit back and let the words of 'Afterglow' just wash over you and take you into a new world which is intriguing and somewhat dark.

There is very little rush to the album, and far more concentration on her wonderful vocals. 'Film Noir' is a wonderful example of a song where there is a lot happening in the background, but it is restrained and all directed to having the listener concentrate on the vocals and the words as Cary searches for a love which is black and white. The album is more psychedelic than the others, and less space rock, yet there is always time for both as Cary again creates a wonderfully majestic world. She is perfectly capable of recording an album on her own yet brings in other people to become part of the overall process. She told me she enjoys 'putting people together who wouldn't have come together otherwise. Sometimes disastrous, but sometimes sublime.' There is not much disaster on here, but there is indeed very much the feeling of an artist in total control and with nothing to prove to anyone. This is her eighth studio release, and still she challenges herself and her listeners, with songs like 'Costume Jewellery' which almost becomes like a drone at parts, but hang on, there are some rather unusual acoustic instruments in the background which surely don't deserve to be there. Wait, there is a violin back there as well, what is going on? The drums have gone almost tribal, the electric guitar is staccato and poignant, the world is disappearing, I'm falling into a void'

Cary is one of the most exciting, interesting and innovative performers around, and I love everything I have heard of hers so far. Long may she continue to keep pushing the boundaries.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some interesting spacey-psychedelic sound arrangements of some VERY simple, very traditionally constructed blues-rock and Goth-rock songs. The reviews of my previous two esteemed reviewers fail to mention the commanding vocal allure and lyrical delivery that Cary possesses that is strikingly similar to that of Siouxsie Sioux. There may even be some uncredited small debt owed in the sound palette to the Banshees (and Cure). Also agreed that Cary's lyrics and vocal delivery are the most remarkable part of this music.

CD 1 (45:33) 1. "Khepera at the Dawn" (4:08) the lead guitarist in this bluesy instrumental neither stays with the rhythmists nor with the established melody. S/he might be able to get away with it were s/he really Jimi Hendrix, but . . . Nice sound palette; next take, please. (8/10) 2. "Letterbox" (4:35) acoustic guitar turns four-chord Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page. Interesting sound palette.(8.5/10) 3. "Without a Trace" (5:50) interesting lyrics and delivery; interesting take on John Lennon's "Imagine." Dream on. (8.25/10) 4. "Into Dust" (5:21) what if Hendrix were to have played on Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" as Siouxsie Sioux crooned. In the fourth minute it tries to turn religious with church choral chant of lyric, "body and soul." (8.75/10) 5. "Afterglow" (6:11) whisper-spoken poetic lyrics over basic, sparse and spacious blues rock. Hypnotic--until the 3:10 mark when Cary and the band leap back into the here and now with convincing force. Too bad the instrumentalists wander off book (off universe) in the final two minutes--otherwise a kind of cool song in a Anne Clark kind of way. (8.75/10) 6. "Film Noir" (7:18) more Anne Clark-type of musical-poet experience. (12.5/15) 7. "Costume Jewellery" (extended version) (12:10) strummed guitars (electric & acoustic) and violin appear before drums and bass join in. After the first verse it turns into a kind of imitation of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" (or else The Pink Fairies' "I Wish I Was a Girl"). (20/25)

CD 2 (46:37) 8. "Moonflowers (Fade to Black)" (6:55) (12/15) 9. "Sacrifice" (10:24) nice lead guitar work in the second half over this middle school blues rock practice jam. (16/20) 10. "Memory" (4:09) she's no Nina Hagen--despite using the chords and mood of "Der Spinner." The lead guitar in the L channel sounds like Brian May. (8/10) 11. "Castle of Dreams" (11:19) the first uptempo song on the second disc relies on a disco beat and Supertramp bouncing keyboard. The L channel guitarist wishes s/he were Robin Trower. Again, Souixsie and the Banshees and the late 1970s come to mind--even and especially the stripped down mid-section. Nice choral vocals. (16/20) 12. "The Land of Two Fields" (2:08) birds and a guitar being tuned over a KRAFTWERK sequence/loop. Turns kind of CAMEL-esque. Why isn't there more of this on the album? (4.5/5) 13. "Lady of Turquoise" (11:42) back to the post-punk, early Goth 70s. You half expect ROBERT SMITH or ROBERT JAMES to start singing. With 11 minutes of that drum and bass line, the musicians have no choice but to solo--otherwise they'd go crazy (or to sleep). Go John Hughes! (15/20)

Total Time 92:10

It feels to me as if everything on this album, song titles, lyrical phrases, instrumental sounds, rhythms and chord progressions, guitar soli, and even the vocal stylings are copies of something or someone else from rock's past--usually quite iconic things. The music is too simplistic to really be classifed as "prog" as it is more akin to the classic blues rock that was evolving parallel to the serious progressive rock pioneers--musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Randy California, Eric Clapton, Robin Trower, Frank Marino, and At times it's good, at times interesting, but mostly I find it redundant. But, then, I'm not a lyrics guy, so perhaps I'm missing something earth-shattering in the message. Otherwise, I'd heard music just as good as this from a band in my middle school. (Okay, maybe the lead guitar and lead singing are a little better here.)

C/three stars; a good collection of very standard blues-rock songs over which a talented lady sings and plays her guitar.

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