Chill Out Island

From New Age to downtempo electronica to acoustic folk, Chill Out Island surveys the finest in relaxing music.

Archive for Easy Listening

Crooner Julie Blue is soulful, passionate on new CD

Reviewed by Carson James

Artist: Julie Blue

Title: One of a Kind Woman

Just as its title promises, Julie Blue is, indeed, a One of a Kind Woman on this beautifully crafted and sweetly-scented album. With a voice as sultry as Sade’s and as dreamy as Dido’s, Blue unites the world of jazz, blues, pop, and soul with tasteful and deliciously inviting compositions. Her vocals are the key to your heart, opening the doors of various emotions, from romantic regret (“Love Looks Like Now”) to positive reinforcement (“Believe in Yourself”) to spiritual reflection (“Way of the Mystery”). It’s all performed with emotional highs and lows, delivered with passion yet restraint as well.

Blue is a crooner, but one with real feeling in her voice; she is not some restaurant karoake singer. No, Blue is a vocalist who captures the thoughts conveyed in her words with an honest-to-God sincerity. “Love Looks Like Now” recalls Shawn Colvin’s “Sunny Came Home” in its mix of sad lyrics with rather upbeat adult alternative music. “Love Looks Like Now” surprised me because I was expecting a mostly jazzy affair. However, Blue is not one to be categorized. “Believe in Yourself” has echoes of Elton John in the piano playing and “Bluer Than Blue” and “Well of Love” are extensions of the blues. This is a CD that continuously surprises and delights as it goes along. To say that I’m merely in love with it is an understatement.

‘Christmas Rose’ is a lovely, unique holiday record


Reviewed by Carson James

Artist: Bronn Journey

Title: Christmas Rose

Bronn Journey probably only intended this album to be played during the holidays, but Christmas Rose has something else going for it. It’s a lovely, ear-soothing work, one that can be appreciated at any time of the year. Of course, the notes of “We Three Kings” and “Drummer Boy” are such an indelible part of our lives that we cannot separate them from the season in which they are normally only heard. However, there are performances and unique touches here, such as the Oriental flavors of “Pat-a-Pan” and the world-music undertow of “Drummer Boy,” that’ll make them tasty treats the whole year.

Journey’s rendition of “We Three Kings” is drop-dead gorgeous; sumptuous strings produce layers of silky lushness. Journey doesn’t play as much as weave; there is magic here, a spellbinding network of emotion and atmosphere. “Christmas Time is Here” will probably be best known for its use in the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special. Here, Journey gives it a handsomely fragile and star-sparkling treatment.