Stephanie Fletcher,
Soul Celebration
(FKM Records, 1999)

What makes really great music together doesn't always stand on its own. Many talented singers depend on paid writers for their music. Likewise, not every songwriter should attempt to sing his own songs when there are plenty of talented singers available. And some poor souls can neither sing nor write, but play well enough that the matter never becomes an issue. Like building a house, each adds his or her own specialty and the end result if often beautiful.

As a singer, Stephanie Fletcher possesses an interesting voice with great range. As a songwriter, she is witty and well read, using reality instead of make-believe to paint her pictures in song. The problem is, she appears to be in such a hurry.

Being one of the miserable few who has no musical talent whatsoever, I am at a loss to explain why, but the words seem to have to scramble at the end of a line to all fit. And occasionally the song is played at such a rush that it just doesn't work. Other times, a word is dragged out over several notes and becomes almost uncomfortable to listen to.

An exception would be "If This Was ... Our Last Day On Earth," a thought-provoking song that points out that we're pretty much all the same inside our skins and all the fussing and fighting between countries, races and religions is wasted time: "Different politics, religious conflicts, they would not mean much between two people. Because maybe for once we'd see, we are just people, living together in this uncertain world."

And "Longing To Fly" is outright beautiful. It slips along, short and sweet, telling the story of a pair of lovers who long for opposite lives. She feels trapped by the city and longs to fly. He sees the city as all he'll ever need.

Soul Celebration is a generous thirteen cuts. And, for the most part, it's a pleasant experience. Fletcher's voice puts me in mind of Tori Amos, but much less shrill and so much easier to listen to. I could easily see her in a small pub or coffeehouse with the clink of glasses as background music.

[ by Sheree Morrow ]
Rambles: 29 September 2001

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