REVIEW: Natalie D-Napoleon “You Wanted To Be the Shore But Instead You Were The Sea”


Natalie D-Napoleon – You Wanted To Be the Shore But Instead You Were the Sea

Australian singer-songwriter Natalie D-Napoleon certainly has crafted a fine collection of intriguing songs. From the beginning with “Thunder Rumor,” her dramatic, expressive & vibrant voice charges each with sophisticated melodies. Some songs have such lovely melodies you have to listen closely to understand the songs can be about escaping an abusive relationship. Strong brave subjects.

This first song is from the school of Cindy (Cydny) Bullens (“Somewhere Between Heaven & Earth” — about the death of her 11-year daughter to cancer), Eleanor McEvoy (singer-songwriter of “Only A Woman’s Heart”) & now an Australian — Toni Child’s with her piercing “I’ve Got to Go Now.”

Natalie fills her carefully written stories with vivid music, excellent tonality & intonation beautiful. The songs have resonance &, vitality. This woman has the necessary soul & spirit & she’s challenging like Canadian born Australian singer Wendy Matthews & the amazing New Zealand singer Shona Laing (Walk Away, 42nd Street). Natalie is in good company.

The songs are too assertive to have many cliches & Natalie brushes emotional song paintings from her pen. The long-titled You Wanted To Be the Shore But Instead You Were the Sea (Independent-Drops March 26) is a view from her porch – her 100-year-old California cottage. From there she delves into the complexities of women. It’s the first set of new songs from Ms. D-Napoleon in 8 years. Despite the subject matter men will enjoy the musicianship & vocalizing – all with expertise.

From her porch, she shaped these observances about the women who passed her by, tales not commonly told. “Second Time Around,” is a poignant melody dealing with starting over. The excellent “No Longer Mine,” celebrates the liberty that must sometimes come at the end of a relationship. The finger-snapping lends an air of cool to the tune.

The lovely title cut about childhood trauma & the scars it leaves behind has a Sinead O’Connor tone & power (as well as the final cut “Broken”). Beautifully rendered by Natalie. An exposé of surrendering to the music & being vulnerable, courageous, fierce & kind. Words seldom associated with male songwriting. Certainly, Mark Knopfler’s “Darling Pretty,” & David Knopfler’s “Goin’ Fishing with My Son,” has it. Justin Hayward’s “Broken Dream,” & the Moody Blues’ “The Day We Meet Again” as well.

Natalie’s engaging vocals are the centerpiece. “Gasoline & Liquor,” with its finely picked acoustic guitar has 2 escapes. Other songs explore emotional rollercoasters, losing an unborn child – written with care & precision.

Natalie (acoustic guitars), Dan Phillips (piano/celeste/Cajon/percussion/vocals), Kim Connolly (bass/vocals & arrangements), Doug Pettibone (electric guitar/mandolin/pedal steel), Angus Cook (cello), Laura Heminway (piano accordion), Jesse Rhodes (additional instruments), Freya Phillips, Susan Marie Reeves & Hazel Chevitarese (backing vocals).

Suggestion: the next CD should be “Views from the Porch.” Songs produced about women celebrating womanhood, the joy of living. She has the voice to inspire confidence in young girls & older women.

The 50-minute CD produced by Jim Connolly & Natalie is available @

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