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BWW CD Review: Wendy Lane Bailey BREATHING Is A Musical Breath Of Fresh Air

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BWW CD Review: Wendy Lane Bailey BREATHING Is A Musical Breath Of Fresh Air

Wendy Lane Bailey's four-song EP is appropriately named BREATHING because every beautiful, blissful moment of the song cycle flows with a rolling ease that actually gives the very feel of the gentle rise and fall of the chest and breath glides to and from one's being. This delicate, poignant, and pretty recording is so lovely, so comfortable as to remind one of a cozy, smushy, sofa, a sunlit room, gleaming wooden floors, and a pot of tea, steaming nearby. Consisting of three ballads and one Latin-rhythmed number, Breathing is one smile-inducing moment after another, with Bailey's luxurious voice and exquisite phrasing providing most of the smiles. Not all of them, mind you, because Wendy Lane's producer and musical director is none other than Michele Brourman, whose own musical aesthetic is ideally matched by Bailey's. Fans of Brourman's styles of songwriting, musical direction, and performing will have no difficulties seeing the ways that the two artists complement one another, and Michele's handling of Wendy Lane, as a producer, is equal to that of a mentor or an older sister. The production values on the recording are first-rate, particularly the mixing and mastering. Bailey's pretty vocals are never drowned out by the bands, and all of her perfect and precise phrasing is right up front where it can be experienced, as it should be, in full-bodied, thoughtful, emotional magnificence that is a little reminiscent of phrasing found on a '70s Streisand album.

Though only a scant 17 minutes long, Breathing is more like getting six songs instead of four because two of the tracks are 2-song medleys, splendidly arranged to suit Ms. Bailey's storytelling needs and musical accomplishments. Covering works by Cole Porter, Joni Mitchell, and Kern/Caldwell, Wendy Lane takes the listener down a winding, relaxing, generously enjoyable path with the back-to-back mashups, with the title track by Brourman and longtime collaborator Amanda McBroom emerging as a heavenly new addition that listeners will add to the list of songs they look for other favored artists to record as well. The care that Ms. Bailey takes in her deep dive of her material is effort well expended as the elegance of "Breathing" gives way to a delectably dramatic "So In Love" reminiscent of that college unrequited love that still haunts, once a year, in a cool, calm, starless sky.

Satisfying as the two medleys are, Wendy Lane Bailey chose to save the money for the last two tracks, Brourman's cheeky, sleeky, naughty and not at all haughty "Sometimes More Is More" and Melissa Manchester's "Mother's Prayer." Playing in consecutive order, the two tunes don't just give the listener a chance to see two sides of Wendy Lane Bailey, they allow you to spend a few minutes with two sides of yourself that may not get to come out as often as they should, in the grind of everyday life. For a few moments in any given day, though, through four pleasant and pretty tracks on one artist's EP, a full range of emotions can bring about respite, repose, and leave one feeling quite refreshed and ready to face the world.

Wendy Lane Bailey is a 2011 release on the Park Road Records Label and is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Youtube Music, and Deezer

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From This Author Stephen Mosher