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Heather Findlay - I Am Snow CD (album) cover


Heather Findlay


Crossover Prog

3.71 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Time waits for no one, so the rolling stone once noted and certainly Heather Findlay took her sweet time to forge her career forward after a very long period away from the prog spotlight. For those whose memory banks are clogged with too much recent Internet activity, let it be reminded that the former lead lung of Mostly Autumn left that successful gig back in 2010 in order to figure out her next step in a rather young artistic calling, a six-year introspection into a low-profile solo that yielded little in terms of recordings, mostly live renditions as well as mini album. This quiet time was spent dealing with more personal concerns as we all have a life to deal with and find renewed energy and commitment to boldly begin fresh. Last year, she teamed up with prog wizard Dave Kerzner (Sound of Contact, solo) to release the spectacular Mantra Vega debut that stunned fans with its incredible diversity and musical magnificence. She had never sung so splendidly and the carefree song writing surely improved her overall performances to an even higher level. The December 2016 release date of her first solo album threw me in a tizzy, as I only got "I Am Snow" today, though listened to it fully during Xmas and adding it to my top 20 albums for 2016. Partnered with long-time collaborator Angela Gordon as well as guitarists Martin Ledger and Isaac McInnis, bassist Stuart Fletcher and Sarah Dean on the harp, it is the presence of drummer extraordinaire Henry Rogers (Deeexpus, Touchstone, Final Conflict, Edison's Children, Shineback) that really got me salivating , as he is a fine thumper in the Paul Thompson school of drumming magic. Here, Henry shows his delicate side, a thing of beauty and restraint.

The theme considered is one that we in Canada know quite well, winter is nature's form of sleep before the upcoming renewal, a highly spiritual journey of warm comfort and crisp air, as well as pensive reflection on the new resolutions to come. First, the two standout tracks are also new compositions that will push the level of enjoyment through the roof. The title track weaves an immediate radiance of sound that reflects the purity and the fragile strength of the great white expanse. It is both spectrally beautiful as well as totally addictive and should be on many playlists worldwide. A thrilling new composition "Dark Eyes/The Dreamer's Wake" is perhaps the album's highlight, an exquisite folky voyage that captivates from the onset, with Heather delivering a startling vocal performance like only she can, the fragile poetry weaving its magic, armed with a swirling chorus that should stun anyone, male or female, into stunned silence.

There are reprises of classic Mostly Autumn numbers that have already stood the test of time, two of them well- known 'hits' such as the crushingly pretty "Bitterness Burnt" and the equally stunning "Shrinking Violet", both Findlay penned and sung. These well-worn tunes have a warmer, more stripped down resilience that provide a different light on the emotions of one's past. "Eyes of the Forest" and "Winter is King" are lesser known tracks that were featured on the compilation/boxset album "Pass the Clock" and they easily pass muster, in fact, rekindling a fire that continues now to burn brightly. The piano-driven "Above the Blue" is mesmerizing in its simplicity and elegance, gorgeously sung by a voice that has stature, commitment and emotion. Unexpected is a short but striking remake of Sandy Denny's pastoral "Winter Winds", penciled with bucolic harp, flute and a very medieval sensibility.

A beautiful woman, attractive to no end, owner of a stellar voice and a new found commitment to excel at her chosen profession. Both the Mantra Vega debut and this puppy in one year, well all I can say is "Thank You"! Welcome back.

4.5 'Je suis neige'

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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