Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Music Review: Crown in the Sky

by Jonathan Widran 

A multiple award winning, multi-talented musician, singer and songwriter, Lis Addison’s divinely touched spirit has allowed her to create music that shifts consciousness, moves energy and inspires the passions of listeners. Circle of Light magazine had it right when said that she “paves the way for a new genre of music”- which incorporates chill, new/age healing music, ambient and soothing, deeply rhythmic world fusion textures. Considering how emotionally rich, contemporary and fresh the tracks of Crown In The Sky are, it’s fascinating to realize that the songs initially took shape decades ago as accompaniment to a performance piece about a Matriarchy that lives in harmony with nature. Honoring and celebrating the Divine Feminine, Mother Earth (Addison spells it as “Urth”) and all her children, Addison lends her ethereal voice to lushly-produced songs awash in easy grooves, dreamy atmospheres and simple, anthem-like melodies.

Hearing the whisper on the opening track “Voice Of The Tree,” she sings of the spirit wrapping us in her arms and setting us free in a vocal harmony filled realm that eases into light jazz/global music territory. Addison mystically explores creation and birth on the gently swaying, chill-ambience driven ballad “New World,” then on “Look Into Your Eyes” asks deep questions about human isolation and how to bridge the distance in a moody setting that is the musical equivalent of a deep, liquefied forest. The singer enters more dramatic territory on “Bring Her Light,” fronting a haunting choir of Kamba women and children from Kenya (who she met on a recent visit) as she dreamily reflects upon our dependence on the natural elements of the earth and humanity’s unfortunate greed that could ultimately anger Mother Nature. Delving deeper into our spiritual connection to nature, “Hearts & Bones” enters trippy ambient territory with the help of soaring chants and bubbling bass and percussion textures. With the feeling of the earth guiding her forward, Addison engages on the acoustic guitar on the light folk/flamenco graces of “Turn To Gold,” which evolves into a beautifully floating soundscape before moving back again towards a more acoustic production.

Showing the depth of her musical palette, the singer employs a growing tree as a metaphor for all life in a setting that incorporates guitar, dulcimer and a classical-flavored Virtual String Quartet. Kit Walker’s dancing mandolin plays a key role on the upbeat, infectious “Carry Me,” which emerges as a playful folk dance singing praises to the Goddess of Creation. Addison wraps Crown in the Sky in beautiful fashion, expressing simple gratitude for the sustenance of earth and sun on “How Deep” and the gentle, easily rhythmic joyful praise and prayer moment dedicated to “Mother Gaia,” a lovely coda which asks for guidance from this time forward. 

The musical-spiritual world of Lis Addison is transcendent and magical, reflecting deep connections between the earth and its people. It’s an intriguing journey like no other recording in any genre this year.