Beth Michaels

Little Girl, Dance

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AllMusic Review by

This is an album full of instrumental wonders with melodic surprises thrown in. Michaels is back with her sophomore release, Little Girl Dance, with intent to bring her exceptional talents in arranging and composing tunes that sink in and stay in the listener's memory banks. As the album presses forward, track after track, it flows with a lucid and smooth quality. "The March of the Little People" is a good example of kids dancing to music and having a blast of a time. As Michaels describes in the headliner notes, her eloquent ballad "The Goodbye Song" was written especially for all those "who have ever said goodbye to anyone or anything they loved." Though there comes a time when everybody must face the sadness of goodbyes, the next tune, "Circle Game," then captures the listener into a spin of uplifting spirit and true optimism. Perhaps it represents the total magic of the game of love, how it revolves endlessly in circles: boy chases girl, boy gets the girl, boy loses girl, etc. Songs up and down the full lineup are all enlivening, filled with Michaels' candid knack for making solid arrangements and creating dazzling compositions. "Stutsman County Fair" does seem to bring the listener back to memories of annual county fairs and all the fun and tradition that is made part of it. Michaels, an Atlanta native and well-renowned artist of the city's local music scene since the early part of the ‘80s, deserves well-earned credit for the production of the record. Though it is here, in her second effort, that she resorts to the source of extra musical help. Ken Gregory provides support on trumpet and bass, Melissa Stoudt pitches in on flute, David Braitberg sits in on violin, and Nan Maddox adds cello to the record. Overall, the album is well developed, instrumentally and melodically, and each song is unique for it's intricate textures, colors, and rhythms. Other notable melodies featured are of course the bright and well crafted "Sister's Symphony," which Michaels describes as a song about two sisters living in two different cities who don't feel the miles between them. The title track, "Little Girl, Dance," is dedicated to a child Michaels met in a hotel lobby. As the liner notes explains, the girl couldn't keep still to what she was hearing and started dancing, much to the performer's delight. "I was so deeply touched by her expression of pure joy that stayed up all night that night and wrote this song," said Michaels.

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