The opening piano riff of “The Story” (played by Emmeline) catches you right away. When the cymbal work of Guy Cramer and the vibes of Kevin Hood join in, you’re hooked. The soft jazz working with her powerful lyrics reminds me of some of my favorite Diana Krall tunes. Add in a strong dose of Tom Waits’ work on “Blue Valentine”, and you have a feel for the cut.
Emmeline’s voicing is superb. Her sultry singing draws you into Miranda’s story of love lost with her husband in the grave. We also meet Sebastian, who is fighting his own demons. They are two lost souls, each wondering if they’re “gonna get it back again”. Emmeline paints an exquisite musical picture of the pain and suffering of these two.
“Give a Damn” takes us in another direction, much lighter than the opening offering. However, the message is still strong and clear. The singer’s pain has come from the realization that the love of her life is not focused on her; in fact he “…doesn’t give a damn about [her].” Emmeline shows us the versatility of her singing and her lyrics. The rhythmic progression of the song emphasizes her awakening.
“Where the Light Is” is an awakening story, one where the singer realizes that she and her friend are no longer traveling on the same road. She sees “where the light is”, but her friend is unable to see it. Again, Emmeline provides us powerful lyrics. She changes pace through the song to emphasize the pain she is feeling. The outro brings the song to a sad, but inevitable conclusion.
“Not that Girl” opens with a piano and percussion riff that tells us that we’re going back to a Tom Waits- like-song. However, throw in a touch of Marilyn Monroe at the end of each refrain , and you have the mixture of power, syncopation, and desire that this song exudes. Nevertheless, there is conflict – the tug of lust from across the room versus the singer’s values that prevent her from doing anything, as she’s “…not that girl.” The track is supported by strong trumpet work from Brittany Hendricks.
“Exit” reflects a singer-songwriter offering that one could hear in many of the cafés around Texas. With Josh Cooley at the guitar, Emmeline keeps up a quick beat, but the story reflects another case of love that’s reached the end of the line. It’s like she has made up her mind to “Exit” the relationship and has to run before she changes her mind.
“I Could Be Good” reminds me a lot of the work of another fantastic Texas singer-songwriter, Terri Hendrix, another great storyteller. The song epitomizes the singer’s being “a little left of center”, but “living out loud”. It’s a fun song where the pacing and verse constructs add to the overall interest of the piece.
The last track, “A Hundred Years”, opens with a great line that seems to me to reflect directly on Emmeline: “I like to think that I walk with purpose”. Nicely, the song ends the EP with hope for the future, rather than the love lost and desperation of the earlier tracks.
Emmeline’s debut work points to a promising future. She is able to take us down into the depths of despair with people whose futures are uncertain, their present unbearable. Through musical portraits of love lost, love that’s reached its end, and love about to blossom, we see the breadth of emotion that Emmeline has brought into her songs. She has a great voice, strong lyrics and talented delivery that provide a wonderful experience for her audience.
Emmeline’s tour schedule can be found at www.emmelinemusic.com. In addition, you can hear her music in a number of sites on line:
Posted by: John South
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