Gretchen Witt,
(independent, 2006)

The old adage of "good things come in small packages" rings true for Gretchen Witt's new album. Six is a short title for a short album -- six tracks with a total running time just shy of 24 minutes. The upswing is that as brief as this album is, it leaves a long-lasting sense of enjoyment.

"Consequence" starts off the album with a good groove and upbeat tempo. The lyrics for this song, as with the other songs that follow, have an honest and upfront quality that better serve the listener's interest. "Sunday Night" is a take on the Cinderella tale without the magic that happens all too often. Interestingly enough, the song doesn't push a down-in-the-dumps attitude, just a comparison of realistic love versus the fairy-tale variety. Witt also wittily weaves in the jump-rope rhyme to work with the song structure (you know, "Cinderella, dressed in yellow..."). Never would I have thought counting to 18 would work outside of children's educational music, but Witt makes it work.

Witt and Marcus Wolf provide a pleasant duet on "Soft Spot," but it is Witt's piano-playing skills that really shine. Her piano skills take on even more attention in the focused and (in)tense "Buried Alive." Witt employs an intriguing and intentional shifting convergence and divergence of the musical elements. There will be a build-up followed by a scattering, over and over, with the piano and her voice acting as the two constants.

"Criminal" starts off with a great acoustic guitar riff that sets the stage for an enjoyable song; however, once the song gets in full swing, there's this odd electric guitar riff. Its sound might work on its own, but in this particular song it is very disjointed, not quite following along with everything else. "Say So" wraps up the album rather nicely, albeit in a pensive and sensitive manner. It's a song about the timeless subject of yearned-for love, but Witt makes it seem like a fresh emotional wound.

At first listening of Six, Witt could be probably shoehorned into the Dar Williams/Sarah McLachlan nook of the female singer-songwriter genre -- and that's not bad company, mind you -- but Witt has her own sound that really shouldn't have to be compared to anyone else. Her work, even as brief as it is in this instance, stands on its own merits.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
C. Nathan Coyle

29 March 2008

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