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When I Look Down That Road
     

When I Look Down That Road

by Melissa Manchester
 
Melissa Manchester's first record in nine years, When I Look Down That Road, heralds the return of a highly regarded composer rediscovering her muse -- and creating a collection of sophisticated, adult pop that would please today's Norah Jones fans. Producers Kevin DeRemer and Stephan Oberhoff maintain an organic feel throughout, as Manchester's songs about

Overview

Melissa Manchester's first record in nine years, When I Look Down That Road, heralds the return of a highly regarded composer rediscovering her muse -- and creating a collection of sophisticated, adult pop that would please today's Norah Jones fans. Producers Kevin DeRemer and Stephan Oberhoff maintain an organic feel throughout, as Manchester's songs about the art of compromise in relationships ("Bend"), her late father ("Still Myself"), and the post–September 11th world (the title cut) all benefit from delicately strummed guitar and atmospheric pump organ. Still possessing a warm and pliable voice after all these years, the Bronx native experiments with new sounds and subject matter, as on the samba-like "When Paris Was a Woman" and the live bonus track, "A Mother's Prayer," about the horrific events at Columbine High School. Equally compelling are Manchester's collaborations with guest Keb' Mo' (the bluesy pop of "After All This Time") and compositional partners Paul Williams (the Sade-flavored "Crazy Loving You") and Beth Nielsen-Chapman (the light Dixieland strut "Lucky Break"). With When I Look Down That Road, Manchester has found her way back to the path of sharply executed songcraft.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Aaron Latham
In the opening line of her album When I Look Down That Road, Melissa Manchester basically sums up the latter half of her career: "I've been walking through the smoke of a thousand burned-out dreams, so hard to shake the ashes of the past from my feet." As she knows all too well, there are sad circumstances in which the business of music envelops an artist so tightly that the creativity and passion are sealed away. In the '70s, Manchester blossomed as an important singer/songwriter responsible for such classics as "Midnight Blue," "Whenever I Call You Friend," and "Don't Cry Out Loud." But as her album sales began to decline, the corporate machinery began to take hold of her career and her original songs were left along the wayside to make way for glossy pop songs and sappy ballads written by "hitmakers." As a songwriter, she had all but disappeared. Leaving the recording studio after 1995's over-produced If My Heart Had Wings, Manchester spent almost a decade regrouping and getting in touch with the artist who had been lost for so many years. Reaching back to a time when the songwriting was just as important as the singer, Manchester reconnected with herself and recorded When I Look Down That Road, her first album of original material since 1978's Don't Cry Out Loud. In a welcome return to form, she has stripped away the many layers of bloated production and overwrought balladry that has dogged her work since the '80s to reveal a set of songs that quietly shine and stand brilliantly alongside her early work. In the album's opener, "I'll Know You By Your Heart," Manchester sounds revitalized and passionate against the song's sparse bluesy samba beat. The difference between this one song and her post-'70s output is immediate. Gone, thankfully, are the sweeping synthesizers, belted choruses, and saccharine sentiments, replaced with basic instruments, breezy melodies, and thoughtful lyrics. A mystical character named Pearl is brought to life in the Bonnie Raitt-styled "Angels Dancing," while Gertrude Stein is visited in the Latin-tinged "When Paris Was a Woman." Two beautiful ballads, "Bend" and "When I Look Down That Road," delicately play on the emotions without resorting to plastic sentiment. It has been a long time since she has sounded this vibrant and honest. When I Look Down That Road is a true comeback in every sense of the word and ranks among her best albums. Dormant for too long, Melissa Manchester's singer/songwriter soul has finally returned.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/09/2004
Label:
Koch Records
UPC:
0099923953722
catalogNumber:
9537

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Melissa Manchester   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals,Piano (Grand)
Richie Kotzen   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Tom Brechtlein   Drums
Mathew Cooker   Cello
Kevin DeRemer   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Electric Guitar,Hammond Organ
Cassio Duarte   Percussion
Bara M'Boup   Soloist,African Percussion
Doug Norwine   Clarinet
Tollak Ollestad   Harmonica,Bass Harmonica
Stephan Oberhoff   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Harp,Hammond Organ,Slide Guitar,Pump Organ,Piano (Grand)
Lynn E. Angebranndt   Cello

Technical Credits

Beth Nielsen Chapman   Composer
Melissa Manchester   Composer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,String Arrangements
Rupert Holmes   Composer
Kevin DeRemer   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Executive Producer,drum programming
Pamela Rose   Composer
Jeff Silbar   Composer
Stephony Smith   Composer
Sharon Vaughn   Composer
Zuriani   Composer
Joe T. Vannelli Project   Engineer,Remixing
Blue Miller   Composer
Stephan Oberhoff   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming
Chris Caswell   Live Sound Engineer
Jeff Gilligan   Art Direction
Wendy Lands   Composer
Paul Williams   Composer
Sjoerd Koppert   Engineer

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