by Janet Goodman
“Anything worth loving is worth fighting for, and Erisa Rei has come on the scene swinging” is a quote from the Spring Hill, Tennessee roots rocker’s website bio. She proves this statement with each of her ten, self-penned songs on the new album, “Black Ball,” where she has mastered the one-two combination: Stun the listener with power, then, knock ‘em to their knees with vibrato.
Led by a production crew including Mike Kyle and Brent Hendrich, and released on the Pesky Fly Music label, this CD is Rei’s emotional ride, singing just what she feels. She can turn it on full-throttle with Wynonna-esque gusto, and a flickering falsetto keeps her vulnerable.
Opening with a Rolling Stones’ struttin’ vibe in “Gypsy in the Desert,” she follows up with her title track, and its biting lyrics: “I watch the black ball as it bounces/Out from the eye of your icy stare/Skating down off of your shoulder/Finding warmth outside the snare/Keep on rolling, keep on rolling/Black ball of blame.”
“Swing Back to Home” takes it down a notch, and Rei gives a dynamic and compelling performance with a most attractive longing in her voice. Killer stand-out – her a-la-Sarah McLachlan piano ballad “Like Dominoes” – once again shows that knack for writing striking imagery: “Thought we had it together/With our roots set in the ground/Thought you loved me better/But one push brings the whole thing down/Oh, like dominoes/Row by row/Our love is falling down the line/Like dominoes.”
Multi-faceted styles are revealed here. Rei’s got a playful side (“News to See”), a whispery quality with lovely chorus phrasing (“Pushed”), a soulful delivery backed by pads of organ (“Be Gone, Winter Long”) and even a chug-a-chug-a train shuffle (“Cannot Change”), which make her an exciting singer to hear.
Visit the artist’s website at www.erisareimusic.com
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