Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lori Diamond and Fred Abatelli - "Lifted"

Every once in a while, you come upon that album that hits all the right descriptive words that you are looking for in an excellent release. Stunning, stellar, beautiful, graceful, peaceful, exciting...  you get the picture.  Lori's voice and piano are so smooth and natural as is Fred's guitar playing.  But what is amazing about this musical couple, is how well their voices play off of each other.  Truly a gift.  Music is always an interpretation of the artist and the listener. Sometimes the listener hears different things than the artist.  I like to dig into the music and the lyrics here and what I offer is my interpretation of the song's message as I hear it.

First a little background on this musical couple, coming from their website at "Lori & Fred met on MySpace in 2007.  Their songs explore the many facets of the human condition with hope and an esoteric sensibility.  Fans of Norah Jones, Sarah MacLachlan and Joni Mitchell, quickly become fans of Lori and Fred as they explore Jazz, Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Gospel and Blues influences and gently infuse them into their own fresh and original style."

This third release for Lori & Fred, "Lifted", is an album that can not only be heard through the ear, but through the heart and soul.  It really is a special album. Since it came into my hands last week, I have listened to this album 15 times.  I just could not get this out of my CD player.  I recently made a playlist for my phone, so I could listen on the driver to work and at my desk.  I have a lot of music come across my desk in the last few months and "Lifted" stands out above crowd as one of the best releases I have heard in the last year.

I feel that the genre that these two artists would be lumped into would probably be Adult Contemporary.  I'd like to  reclassify this release as Jazz or even New Age.  I have only come upon an uplifting musical album once, in the last 10 years outside of the Religious Music genre.  The artist was Jana Stanfield, who writes inspirational songs that make you feel good and look inside to see the beauty in you.  With Lori & Fred I feel that I have come upon another gift of this very thing that I love; inspirational music about love, life and the goodness in everything.

This album is loaded with powerful stories, messages and an uplifting spirit.  A true gem in the jungle of the music industry.  Really, this is an album which I feel needs to be heard and played over and over till the messages sink in and are enjoyed by everyone who hears it.  So without further ado, I will walk you through the album track by track.

"Lifted" by Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli

Always There - Opening tracks for me, are key to the pace of the album  This track sets the tone for the whole release.  Exquisite harmonies and a beautiful melody throughout.  A love song for two people finding their way in life. I could see this song being used as a wedding, anniversary or memorial song.  When you listen to the lyrics, you'll see who this song reminds you of and then I guarantee, you'll have a tear in your eye.

Way Back Home - We have a great uplifting song here about finding your way through any of life's challenges and ending up back home.  The metaphors here are positive and beautifully laid out in the lyrics.  It's almost like a meditation mantra for positive affirmation and self talk. A wonderful way of saying "you can do this!" Love the melody of this track and the chorus is so catchy and memorable.  I have had this chorus running through my mind the last several days and it takes a lot for a song to get that space in my brain to do so.  Trust me; it does.

Dreaming - I find myself on the beach in this song.  It has a very tropical Bahamian feel to it. Almost like a Bossa Nova.  I get lost in Lori's voice and piano playing.  Something about this is very reminiscent of Sade and I hear some Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz falling gracefully into the feel of "The Girl From Ipanema".

Lifted - We start here with Fred singing with Lori coming in on the harmonies.  Again, a wonderful and uplifting song.  A powerful message about being together and lifting each other up in love.  It's about being a rock for each other and allowing each other to soar like an eagle in the relationship. "I know I'll go higher with you." is how it ends.  A truly happy ending.

The Outside - Lori sings a story from her youth to a lady that she has met along the road.  The lesson of "it's never worth the price you pay when the beauty is on the outside."  Strong message. Beautifully told in another hook-laden chorus, with a killer acoustic lead from Fred in the middle of the tune.  Love this tune.  Powerful lesson.

Good Harbor - Fred's guitar in the beginning builds with Lori singing lead and Fred coming in on another beautiful harmony.  A song about renewing and rejuvenating a relationship and living a renewed life.  The water will carry this couple's troubles far away.  A peaceful lyric.

Castle - Starts with a beautiful piano and then the smooth beautiful voice of Lori.  I'm focused on listening to the lyrics of this song while I'm writing this and I just had to pause and get lost in this song again.  Seriously, it's hauntingly beautiful.  Powerful message again about looking for the good things in life.  I still think there can never be enough daydreaming in our daily lives, but sometimes we have to come down to Earth.  Why would you want to come down from that castle in the air anyway?  I'd probably stay there if I could too.  You'll get what I mean when you hear this song.

Wayfaring Stranger - Back to the Bahamas again. This song paints a picture of going back to home. At least that's what I'm pulling in from the lyrics.  I'm lost in Fred's lead guitar and Lori's piano playing.  Stellar!  The organ that comes in after the lead guitar part is a nice addition and takes the song into a Gospel feel with a full harmony of backup singers.  This song just keeps building and taking me away from my daily grind.  I find myself swaying back and forth in my chair as I get lost in Fred's second lead guitar part.  This is SO good.  Santana, Joe Walsh; eat your hearts out, this is excellent guitar work!

OM - Lori singing a wonderful mantra. "Peace is in my heart." If we all sang this on a daily basis, I think the world would be a better place.  In fact, this may now become a beautiful daily meditation for me.  It's a nice reminder to be fully engaged in the moment of life.  What a better way, than to sing this out loud every chance you get.  When they break into "Joy is in my soul" I get shivers.  Big shivers.  And finally, the last message I'll let you ponder.  It's the teaching of many Eastern traditions, "God is Who I Am".  Again, powerful messages throughout.

So there you have it.  Track by track and I really can't paint the picture enough.  The album is worth of listening too over and over again.  Absorb the messages and feel the positive energy that this album exudes.

A portion of proceeds from Lori & Fred's CD sales goes directly to  NEADS is a great organization that supplies dogs for deaf and disabled Americans.  What a great organization to give too, and what a better way to give to this organization by buying this album.  Support Independent Artists like Lori & Fred.  Keep this positive music alive!

In conclusion. I'm not sure what else to say to get you all to go order a copy of this gem.  I will say that if I had read a review like this and heard song samples of each track, I would buy this in a heartbeat.  This is the kind of music and songwriting that I live for.

You can sample the above tracks through Lori & Fred's ReverbNation page or listening through the ReverbNation Widget below.

Visit Lori & Fred at these locations

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