When one door closes another door opens – I’ve heard that for decades. In Dec. folk singer Norma Tanega passed away. She had a minor hit in 1966 with a song that’s become iconic: “Walking My Cat Named Dog.” It’s been covered many times. Songs from her LP “The Street That Rhymes With 6 a.m.,” “I’m Dreamin’ a Dream,” & the infectious “I’m The Sky,” were all creative. Norma’s fame came, however, when the legendary Dusty Springfield covered her beautiful “No Stranger Am I.”
So, Ms. Tanega has left us to find someone who’s as interesting & melodic. I’ve found the marvelous warm voice & writing of Toronto’s Lynn Harrison. Lynn possesses the same warm magical spell Norma provided. Norma as well always had memorable lines in her songs, was a terrific acoustic guitarist & Ms. Harrison is indeed equally up to the task with her fingerpicking guitar.
Something More, (Independent – releases Jan. 26), is Lynn’s new 12-track excursion into love, life & the human spirit. “You Come To Me,” immersed me in that good feeling Norma sang of. I knew instantly Lynn was a special artist. Producer Noah Zacharin (electric & slide guitar) provides quiet distorted guitar on “Something More,” & with Lynn’s sweet commanding vocal – all is perfect.
Co-producer Douglas September adds pedal steel to “Pretty It Up.” Lynn maintains a defining style. She doesn’t have a deep voice of mid-west folkie Carrie Newcomer, but she has an ounce of Newcomer’s inflection in this tune, as well as, “When I’m On the Water,” another beauty.
Jazzier & with George Koller’s bowed double bass is “Don’t Know How It Works,” with a good line – “I don’t know-how, to turn this anxious overflow into an easy grace.” Lynn isn’t exactly in the same realm yet as Madeleine Peyroux or Cassandra Wilson but she’s inches away.
Falling back into a more Celtic-traditional style “Waves,” is spare but features Lynn’s fingerpicking guitar. This is deeply entrenched in a Norma Tanega tradition. The coincidence is that Norma had a song called “Waves,” as well with her own fingerpicking. Maybe Lynn was influenced by this?
Though dark, “Home Away From Home,” is a jewel. Lynn’s vocals are haunting & the all intertwined guitars sting. Alexander Brown’s muted trumpet adds to Lynn’s diversity in her showcase on “Always Falling In Love.” Another winner in a Shawn Colvin tradition. Lynn’s vocal tonality, phrasing is up there with the best ballad singers of the past. The choice of a muted trumpet was genius. I love this one.
“Protestor,” is Lynn’s toe dipped into a little humor with the Adam Warner snare & Ed Michael Roth’s breezy accordion.
Lots of enthusiasm.
From here to gospel, “Someone To Look Up To,” is Dylanesque. Denis Keldie adds Hammond organ & Ian de Souza electric bass.
The 44-minute CD can be purchased at CD Baby & iTunes. http://www.lynoleum.com/home/