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BBW Reviews: CD: DESTINY Stands Alone In Its Own Indescribable Musical Genre

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Reviewed by Barry Lenny, 25th September 2014

During the 2012 Adelaide Fringe, one unique venue, Ensalada, set itself up as a cabaret centre and brought a whole group of superb performers across from the Byron Bay area on the far north coast of the state of New South Wales, not far from the border with Queensland. As well as the scheduled cabaret performances they offered free entertainment in a garden setting in the evenings. Among those appearing was Cassie Rose, whose music and voice captivated the listeners. I have just received her CD, Destiny, with a collection of her wonderfully engaging songs.

As the first track, Destiny, began I was reminded of some of those remarkable recordings from Will Ackerman's 'new age' Windham Hill Records, written and recorded by him and numerous others, including Mark Isham, Alex Degrassi, and the band, Shadowfax. Those recordings were all instrumental and, listening to them, it would be hard to think of a singer at that time who would have fitted their music. Now, there is Cassie Rose. She has a distinctive voice and a unique way of expressing herself.

Destiny, and the other four tracks on this CD, Broken Trust, Feeling Free, The Game, and Moving On, all have introspective lyrics and a considerable emotional depth. They deal with relationships and the human condition, but not at the superficial level of pop songs. The engage the listener on a good many levels due to the commitment of Cassie Rose to the full meaning behind them, each individual, yet all unmistakably hers.

Much is also due to the empathy of those musicians who perform on this CD with who demonstrate a great understanding of her music and style. As well as vocals and harmonies, she also plays nylon string acoustic guitar, piano and synthesiser, so she is almost a whole band on her own. Her life and musical partner, Alex McLeod, plays acoustic, electric, 12 string, and slide guitars, bass, synthesiser, and sings harmonies. Brendan Lees adss his drums and percussion, and Shaston King brings in another very different instrumental timbre on tenor saxophone. Dan Brown covers organ and piano, Cye Wood adds violins, and Amie Stuart joins with Cassie Rose and Alex McLeod for hand claps on Broken Trust.

Although Cassie Rose and Alex McLeod perform on all tracks, the others are used sparingly, adding different colours to each song, creating internal variety that sometimes takes a moment or two to register what it is that has made one song's backing sound subtly different to another, the primary two performers providing that cohesion between tracks that stamps them indelibly with her style.

I have remarked before that there is something ethereal, otherworldly about Cassie Rose's voice, and yet it seems infused with nature and an affinity to the earth. She seems at once both firmly grounded, and yet engaging the astral, her feet on the ground and her heart flying high in the sky. It is a voice and music that you must hear for yourself, and you will instantly know how remarkable she is, and how feeble my description. This wonderful collection can be easily purchased from her web site, here. Do yourself a big favour and visit there soon.


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