Anni Clark

A Light for Liza

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Anni Clark is one of the bright lights of New England singer/songwriters, and this exquisite album featuring nine originals as well as a cover of Joni Mitchell's "He Comes for Conversation" has a dramatic feel that works well with Clark's clear and distinct vocals. "Orono" is, believe it or not, the title track. The writer has tons of hooks, and "What ever happened to Liza" is the phrase that is the centerpiece of that tune. Reminiscent of another woman from Maine, Cindy Bullens, one can hear more Karla Bonoff and singer/writer Harriet Schock than Joni Mitchell, and that's a good thing. Sometimes artists sound too much like their mentors, but Anni Clark has her own style and seems to pay tribute to some of the great ladies of this genre. There is definitely some Carole Bayer Sager in "I Hear Your Voice," and it is a standout. The disc is dedicated to "My Mom, whose voice and light I carry with me always"; you can feel the dilemma in "I Can Hear Your Voice," subdued and powerful and then the range of Clark's voice just soars over the backing vocals. Everything about this track is great, from the sound of the guitars to the incessant riff. The disc was produced by Steve Drown and Anni Clark, and where Cindy Bullens recent album is a gem that emerged from the tragic loss of her daughter, Clark also puts her emotions in song with results that are just as important. The lit candle on the back of the booklet is a touch of hope. "Pilot Light" and "Here Come the Jetties" are where Clark really shines. A song about walking along the sea, reflecting on life -- Clark's voice, the cymbals, the guitar, and the lyrics, all combine like an undertow -- it grabs you. Where Laura Nyro had the ability to write a song that could stand without the music, so too can Anni Clark, but her voice and vision put it all together. If Cher, Streisand, Midler, and Ronstadt need a new source of inspiration, they may find it here.

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