Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fernandez and Wright Showcase Their Songs, Singing, Instrumentality

Australia doesn't get a great deal of attention up here in the States. At least not unless you search around for what music is happening there. The Necks have been on my "A" list for a while now, for example, but I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a list of contemporary Australian artists of any length. It's not that things aren't happening there though.

Fernandez & Wright are definitely one thing that's happening. They are Vanessa Fernandez, songwriter and singer; and Steve Wright, guitarist and songwriter. Their album Unsung (New Market 3265.2) gives us a good listen to what they are about. It's ten original songs, done by the songwriting team, sung beautifully by Ms. Fernandez, with some very nicely subtle guitar work by Mr. Wright. The songs are personal, about love mostly, and they range from a bossa-Jobim feel to gently but thoroughly funky. It's all too contemporary to be cabaret, it's closer to jazzed singer-songwriter fare. Norah Jones comes to mind, but only in contrast. Vanessa's voice is more earthy and soulful, and really quite good. The music is actually closer to the jazz edge of the song spectrum than Norah's.

Some very nice songs, good instrumental arrangements and a deeply soulful vocal talent. That's a good thing to combine and this album does it in a way that brings much musical pleasure.

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