Lori Chaffer,
1 Beginning
(Hey Ruth, 2003)

It is said that the first impression is a lasting one. Perhaps the cover of 1 beginning created a bias in my mind. The first thing I noted is that there are no capital letters in the title or any of the names. The second thing that grabbed my attention was the childish illustration.

When I opened the cover, I found that most of the selection credits are in butterscotch ink on a butterscotch background. Perhaps the person that selected the colors wished to keep the information secret from all of us not having eagle eyes. Or perhaps they did not wish to divulge the culprit responsible for specific portions of the selections. Regardless, I do feel that the cover for this CD does more harm than good and may actually convince shoppers to pass it by.

Most of the selections have both lyrics and music composed by Lori Chaffer. A few have the music composed by Lori, but with lyrics jointly written by Lori and Don Chaffer. The strongest lyrics with the most emotional pull are in "Alone Everybody," a song that relates how humans act when they are alone. They may be fine, but they always lie to themselves and they always cry. This piece has the most consistent flow. "Animals" also has strong, thought-provoking lyrics and skillful composition.

The radical opposite in lyric composition has to be "Fade," a number that bumps along and skips about in space and time. Basically, there are only two coherent thoughts in the entire piece and it has an almost allegorical air. This fluctuation in flow leaves one to question whether she is inconsistent with her work or purposely manipulating the flow for effect. It is hard to believe that she would purposely make a piece go bumpety-bumpety, so the obvious conclusion is that she is inconsistent.

Lori Chaffer has the skill to go far in the music industry, both as a songwriter and composer. She has a strong voice, sounding much like Sheryl Crow, and has the holding power to vibrate a note for a while. Her abilities and wonderful voice are revealed throughout this collection. The layering is fantastic and the music often showcases her voice ideally.

The band for this collection consists of Brandon Graves (drums, percussion, crystal glass tuning), Don Chaffer (drum programming, electric guitar, bass, bgvs, background vocals), Luke Sullivant (bass), Jay Pfeifer (tack piano, background vocals), Amelia Pfeifer (background vocals) and Lori Chaffer (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lead vocals, background vocals, accordion, bass, piano, vox, pump organ, Wurlitzer, crystal glasses, omnichords, synth, nylon guitarslide guitar and ebow slide guitar).

1 beginning is an up and down collection. It almost alternates between great songs and those that cause you to grit your teeth. Lori Chaffer has the talent to go far in the music world, but she will not get there with this collection.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 18 September 2004