Jennifer Richman,
Flowers of Gold
(independent, 2006)

Jennifer Richman is an independent singer/songwriter whose first CD, Flowers of Gold, was released in January 2006 without the help of a major studio. The music mostly straddles the line between folk-rock and light rock, with a bit of country thrown in. Jennifer's talent seems to mostly be found in the vocal and songwriting departments; while the front cover of the CD shows her holding a guitar, Jennifer pretty much leaves the instruments to other musicians.

Flowers of Gold starts off with the title track. The melody is tranquil. The sounds of the cello and ebow lend a regal air to the music. Despite lyrics that discuss a scared and broken heart, this tune is rather positive; Jennifer states she is going to pick herself up and find a place to call home. The title comes from the last two lines of the chorus: "But if these walls are mine forever / I'm gonna paint them with flowers of gold." In short, it won't matter what pain crosses her path, Jennifer is still going to focus on the bright side.

"Wounded Love" takes a musical detour towards country-blues led by a Hammond. The pace is again slow, yet this time, Jennifer doesn't sound so much positive as desperate and in denial. Her lover tells her he has moved on, the love is gone. But Jennifer doesn't want to leave. I'm not sure who to feel more sorry for.

"Mirror Door" also leans towards country, but this time more of a country-rock. The tempo is more upbeat. The song focuses on the life of a man from boyhood to old age. Memories are a constant thread. "The sun will rise and the sun will set / Memories that we'll never forget / Like fingerprints on mirror doors / We're always changing and same as before." The notable instruments in this piece are the banjo and mandolin.

Jennifer wrote all 11 tracks found on Flowers of Gold. While she mostly concentrates on vocals, she contributes acoustic guitar on one track and piano on another. The following musicians supported her on this CD: Marcus Wolf (acoustic and electric guitars, bass, ebow, percussion, mandolin, background vocals), Philip A. Jimenez (bass, electric guitar, tambourine, drum loops, hammond, synthesizer, mandolin, banjo), Frank Colon (percussion), Tom Papadatos (drums), Jilliann Jones (backing vocals), Jonathan Maron (bass), Ben Stivers (keyboard), Richard Hammond (bass) and Dave Eggar (cello). Wolf and Jimenez produced all the tracks (together and as individuals depending upon the track) and occasionally helped with the musical arrangement, but Jennifer holds the copyrights.

Flowers of Gold is a pretty decent first CD. Jennifer's vocals are very pleasant. The production quality is good, which isn't always the case for independent CDs. Jennifer's website has some snippets of her music, but to hear the songs in their entirety, you will have to purchase the CD.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

29 December 2007

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