A Purple Kind Of Blue
Purple Sky Records, 2005
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/18/2005
We've all had the long day. It doesn't matter what your occupation is or how much you get paid. Every now and then (some would argue every day) we need to get home, sit in a comfy chair, and just relax. Students in college can feel the same way, and that's how I found myself listening to Meredith Blis on A Purple Kind Of Blue. And damn, it felt good.
To me, this is the definition of chill music. Soothing, gentle piano, and some stirring but not over the top vocals. Every track on A Purple Kind Of Blue has these qualities in some degree, and that made for some pleasant listening.
Meredith Blis can set a mood. The opening and title track is a mid-tempo ballad which sets the tone for what is to come. To be honest, except for the female vocals, I could hear McCartney recording something like this. "Mighty Aphrodite" in turn brought images of Elton John to mind, in a good way. The strings featured on the latter are gorgeous, matching the powerful vocal from Blis.
"Mermaid Girl" has to be influenced by Broadway; it has that certain sound to it. It's theatrical to some extent, has somewhat cheesy lyrics, and a knockout chorus. Whoever sang with Blis on this track did quite well -- I loved Bliss's deeper vocals combined with the falsetto vocals from the backup singer.
Not surprisingly, the blues make an appearance on "Two Way Street," but this time it was the backing track that caught my attention. Guitar licks simmer underneath the track, injecting those shots of blues that I love so dearly.
At 37 minutes, A Purple Kind of Blue is not a monster to get through. However, I feel that the best tracks were all up front, leaving the weaker material to close this puppy out. "Fairy Dust" is an attempt to be somewhat avant-garde, or at least out of sync with the rest of the album's sound, but this attempt to be different is not needed. For example, the "yodeling" toward the end is a bit distracting.
The opening to "Legacy" contains a bit of "The Star Spangled Banner," which came off as a bit over the top. In fact, the only time I endorse using the national anthem is at a certain stage at Woodstock 1969. The final track, "Untitled Love Song," steals too much from earlier tracks, though the cello overdub was a nice touch.
Is this album a testament to Meredith Blis's skills or those of a fine producer? One could make the case for both. The sound of the album complements Blis as a musician, because this is music that sounds just right for someone like her. However, do not be fooled. Meredith Blis has talent, which no amount of high-class production can take away.