Although Cusick puts plenty of passion into his strong, clear tenor, the voice itself sometimes has a closed-off quality that prevents him from achieving the full earthiness of a Graham Nash or the immediacy of a Dave Matthews. Even so, this ambitious and well-produced effort pays dividends. Extended song samples are available here.
Elisa Korenne, Favorite
Singer-songwriter Elisa Korenne has been making the coffeehouse circuit, but on her new album she shows her true colors as a rocker. Like Paula Cole or Sheryl Crow, she melds rock with singer-songwriter pop in a balanced recipe. She doesn't just graft rock guitar tracks onto her songs - she can actually write rock tunes.
"Find My Strength" is an example, and it probably seemed like an appropriate opening track because of its "hear me roar" theme and tribal beat, but it lacks a punchy hook. The up-tempo alt-rocker "Road Trance" with its Alice In Chains-style chorus and Beatlesque ending has much more hit potential and a modern sound. And the strong rocker "Marrow," because it shows instead of tells, succeeds where "Find My Strength" doesn't in establishing the artist's persona as a powerful woman to be reckoned with.
That is no small matter. One hears a lot these days about how "chicks rock," but the fact is, notwithstanding mini-movements like riot grrl, when it all shakes out it becomes clear that few chicks actually rock. Or perhaps it would be better put this way: chicks don't rock nearly as much as they would if I ran the world. That's why it's so satisfying to hear an artist writing real rock songs and imposing her will on the genre rather than merely trying it on or playing at it. The world would be a better place if more women were less afraid to write (or declare): "I want to know you inside-out/Let me be a parasite/So I can love you with all my might.../I need emotion to feed my soul/I know emotion's hiding in your bones/I want your marrow." That's strong stuff, especially from a white, female, non-blues artist.