CD REVIEW: Xenia Dunford - Lonely Streets
By Cyrus Rhodes - 04/18/2012 - 03:42 PM EDT
Artist: Xenia Dunford
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Album: Lonely Streets
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Folk/Pop
Sounds Like: Nora Jones, Tori Amos
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: High and Dry, Don’t Forget Me, Best I ever Had,
Los Angeles based Singer-Songwriter Xenia Dunford releases their latest EP entitled Lonely Streets in 2012. Originally from Boston Xenia left the safety net of her hometown of for the high wire of Los Angeles. A few months after releasing her self-titled 2011 debut EP, she joined forces with longtime musical compadres and fellow Bostonians Scotty Mlodzinksi (guitar) and Forrest Pettengill (bass), and later drummer Adam Farley.
The CD kicks things off with the “Best I Ever Had” jumping little ditty that serves up inviting instrumentation, well-crafted melody and warm vocal presence from Dunford. This first track is like a warm and inviting welcoming mat and get's things off the ground well. Track 2 shifts gears a bit with striking “Don’t Forget Me” a solitary piano piece that serves up impressive musical build, well Placed Organ accents against a passionate vocal front from Dunford. Track 3: “Every Now and Again” shows us even more songwriting brilliance from Dunford. This piece showcases a truly amazing songwriting virtuosso, flawless vocal presence and thought provoking lyrical content. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical textures reminiscent of classic vocal acts as Nora Jones, Carol King, and even Tori Amos. The music itself combines classic elements of Folk Rock with an aftertaste of R&B, Soul and even Saloon Jazz. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere which besides the 4 piece standard includes impressive slide guitar and Hammond Organ accents, Electric Piano, and well placed harmonies and solid low end rhythm section. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing impressive songwriting, world class instrumentation via Danford’s honey coated vocal delivery. Zeroing in now on Danford – her voice goes down smooth as she makes the vital (singer to listener) emotional connection. Danford can hold your attention well during some of the CD’s solitary moments and her vibratto is to die for. This is not as easy as it sounds and when done properly will stop you in your tracks. Danford executes the pin drop moments well clearly proving she is an artist worthy of your attention and praise. From start to finish this EP has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with Track 5 “The Only One” the perfect finale statement for a CD like.
It’s had to find any real noticeable weaknesses with this EP – so I give up. I normally deduct 1 star for EP releases though. The full length releases is a more complete picture of what an artist is capable of. My 10 star reviews are reserved full length releases only.
From start to “Lonely Streets” is an amazing musical teaser from Xenia Dunford and company. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalogue. All pieces are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing its own signature groove and musical personality to call its own. The writing and playing abilities are rock solid and the catalogue is highly diversified. Last but not least the vocal presence and songwriting abilities of Xenia Dunford are to die for. She’s an infectious artist that knows how to sing you a song a occupy a special place in your heart.
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