Aselin Debison,
Sweet is the Melody
(self-produced, 2002)

Aselin Debison has a pop perspective but a down-home sense about her. The young Glace Bay native from Cape Breton, who entered the recording studio and her teens at about the same time, has a pure, clear voice with a strength beyond her years.

Her first album, Sweet is the Melody, draws on Aselin's broad musical interests, from the title track by Iris DeMent and Leon Dubinsky's moving "Rise Again" to Mike Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow" and Sinead Lohan's "Out of the Woods." A medley of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World" gives both songs new life. It's also great to hear a new generation cutting loose on Buddy MacDonald's anthem "Getting Dark Again."

But if it's signs of promise you want, go no further than track 2, "The Dance You Choose." Co-written by Aselin and Bruce Guthro, a pop song that's great fun -- modern-sounding, and never losing touch with its island roots: "Dance to the fiddles in the rhythm of the reels / Dance to the life and the love that you feel." This girl needs to spend less time on her algebra homework and more on songwriting!

She gets a hand on the music by island luminaries including Natalie MacMaster (fiddle), Gordie Sampson (guitar), Tracey Dares (piano), Eric Rigler (uilleann pipes) and the full roster of the Barra MacNeils.

There's no question Aselin has the voice of a teen, and yet she lacks the saccharine quality so common among some of her peers. If she sticks to her current path, she could easily straddle the boundary between pop and Cape Breton folk and find some commercial success while staying true to her roots. Let's hope so!

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 14 February 2004

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