Corrine Bailey Rae is an artist I love! I had heard her on Herbie Hancock‘s The River, and seen her on a few other things, but had never gotten a hold of one of her albums. Then one day I’m driving Narcie’s car around and I find…Corinne Bailey Rae’s newest album The Sea. I promptly tore off the plastic and “borrowed” it and I plan on giving it back soon, promise.
I was first struck by the sound. If you don’t know Ms. Rae her voice has a certain quality, it is disarming, comforting, pleasing, alluring, sensual, highly emotional. Her voice can be compared to Billie Holiday, not in the sound, but in that it has a quality that sets it apart (and above). But her voice is not the only draw, the whole sound of the record is refreshing. Recorded with a live band the songs really live and breathe. Listening to the songs you can see the eyes of the musicians meeting, the engineers smiling as they got something, and feel the energy in the room grow as the songs develop.
The Sea is almost a master class in restraint. The orchestration is truly limited to the band. In a day when we ProTools everything to death, or with a few clicks add a 1,394 piece orchestra to any song; the simple sounds of a real band is a needed change of pace. And clearly these cats can play, because they choose when to display their talents and when to first serve the song.
Then one day I looked into her life and read the story of The Sea. Heartbreaking. Her husband of 7 years or so had suddenly died. She then took a two year hiatus, and these are the songs she came out of that period. The songs on The Sea are infused with love, longing, loss, despair, hope, and look to the future. It is a phenomenal album.
Below is a video clip of Corinne Bailey Rae performing one of the songs off The Sea. She first talks about her process of writing this last album. It is really neat, I won’t tell you what she says, because it is far more effective coming from her. But it speaks to her talent that she continues to work to improve her craft.
Please enjoy and check out Corinne Bailey Rae.
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