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Lizz Wright - The Orchard

Versatile & Eclectic

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Lizz Wright - The Orchard
© Verve Records.
It doesn't matter whether you call Lizz Wright a Soul singer, a Jazz vocalist a Blues crooner, or anything else, because the fact of the matter is that she's an artist that defies true categorization. And on her brilliant third album, The Orchard, which was released Feb. 26, 2008, she shows and proves that she can master all the above music genres and then some. The Orchard is a beautifully serene collection of mature, personal, and sometimes spiritual, songs that serve to cement her standing as one of the more versatile and talented artists in contemporary music today, even if she's not one of the most well known.

Beautifully Different

Who else but the great Lizz Wright could cover decades-old songs by Ike & Tina Turner and Led Zeppelin on the same LP and make both sound like brand-new compositions written specially for the album? Lizz's versions of Ike & Tina's "I Idolize You" and Led Zep's "Thank You" are bold and beautiful and pay tribute to the originals while at the same time sounding fresh and different from them.

However, the two remakes are just the tip of the iceberg on an album filled with moving, personal songs. The Orchard leads off with the somber, mournful "Coming Home," in which Lizz sings about "Coming home for tomorrow, from my dreams of yesterday." The following song, "My Heart," which is also the album's first single, is a conflicted love song:
"Sometimes I wanna give you up, sometimes I wanna leave you alone, sometimes I wanna run away, and sometimes I want you to come back home, she sings."

On all the above tracks, as well as the other songs on the album, Lizz's expressive voice makes you feel the emotions she's singing about. She may not be as bombastic as - or have the vocal range of - some of the music's premiere divas, like Mary J. Blige and Chaka Khan, but what she lacks in those departments, Lizz makes up for in vocal tone, richness and nuances. The Orchard is a lovely collection of melancholy love songs that crosses over many music genres, including R&B, Soul, Jazz, Blues and even Country.

Unfortunately, Lizz Wright will probably never get the props she deserves, but make no mistake - sales don't always equal talent. But if they did, Lizz would surely be multi-platinum.

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