Kirsten Manville’s latest CD Some People Sing, is a fine assortment of rootsie flavored singer-songwriter material. Produced by Brian Maes at his Briola Studios in Lynn, Massachusetts, Manville’s CD rings with authentic grit. Her vocal sounds clear and pure and the instruments can be heard in all of their natural tone glory in each of these ten songs.
Opening track “Still Lookin’’ moseys in with a pleasant sway. Its breezy motion and assortment of acoustic instruments fill out the lonely but confident feeling going on here. Manville phrases with considerate pacing, wringing the message and its underlying theme for all their worth with her down home timbre.
“The Same Thing” is a woman’s lament about her man’s attention to another woman. Each of Manville’s mournful sustains makes us feel the forlorn vibe of abandonment. Her clear, pure voice can work within any emotive content. Here, her understated projection carries us through her world of sadness with each meter. Accompanied by Brian Maes on piano and Kook Lawry on acoustic guitar, Manville weaves a texture that the listener cannot look away from despite its sad underpinning.
“A Little Bit Of Heaven” floats by like a cloudy, a dreamy acoustic piece. A fiddle melody dances around the song in bright celebration of love. Acoustic guitar and piano wrap their tender notes around Manville’s voice while it rides this moving tribute to good companionship. Manville will suddenly brighten her timbre, increase her dynamic, and sustain a note to great effect. She carries well the emotional content of her song without seeming to try.
“…..but Down” travels at a mid tempo pace, with ripples of acoustic guitar that form into something that pushes this along with simplicity and grace. Manville projects her vocal out over the top of her sonic landscape and coats it all with her colorful and subtle timbre.
“Hard Town” paints a picture of a miserable small town where children’s playgrounds are littered with used needles and discarded condoms. The love interest in this song is a rough anti-hero with an uncertain future. Manville makes us feel the bleak, barren landscape of this place and the exhausted dreams of the people who live there. She sings with an understated passion, letting out just enough power, voice, and emotion to express the anxieties of this life without falling into maudlin sentiment. A brisk acoustic slide guitar puts color into the open spaces with something equally mournful, a resolute sound that rings with authentic emotion.
“Quit You” focuses on needing to leave a bad relationship. A layering of voice and instruments give this song its emotive grit. Manville’s pacing reflects the meditative quality of the theme. Her understated flute implies the feeling of being mentally busy with a serious dilemma. The forlorn, haunted feeling comes in from a lightly tinkled piano. A percussion pattern lulls us into the universal feeling of needing to move on with an interval of notes that never reach a finale. Manville will have listeners in the palm of her hand with this one. She gives it even greater depth with her lush vocal application as her backing musicians surround her with a serious, thoughtful musical environment.
Manville takes things up tempo with “You Ain’t No Good.” She belts with a honky tonk flair, making us picture her swagger around on stage as she puts across this feisty gripe with a difficult love interest. Kook Lawry’s hip, perfectly accented acoustic guitar make his twisty melodic line come alive. Jackie Damsky’s jumpy fiddle melody and Mae’s thick, zesty harmonica line make this one pirouette around her brisk pace and rangy assertions with style and verve.
“Jesus And Me” is about Manville’s relationship with the kind of almighty she’s been raised to believe in. Her lively vocal assertions and emotive sustains make us feel the spiritual exuberance she must have been feeling when she wrote and recorded this piece. She also rides the melodic line with serenity while launching a few mountainous sustains. A spirited acoustic guitar make this song feel festive and alive as percussionist Jack O’Soro perks things up with a persistent beat that pushes everything forward with its unobtrusive presence.
Title track “Some People Sing” is an anthem for those who keeps themselves sane through the enjoyment of music. Manville projects her sunny vocal over a moving tapestry of acoustic guitar, fiddle, and percussion. Her voice takes off like a kite on a windy day at the end of her chorus, wafting along next to her fine accompaniment. Along the way to the chorus, Manville’s voice get lush with emotion, giving a three dimensional quality to the lively vocal melody.
Closing track “Might As Well” features a lilting flute melody that reminds of late 1960s psychedelia with its swaying interval of notes. After creating a low key, bluesy vibe with her flute, Manville projects an easygoing vocal, something that sprawls out over her accompaniment with flintiness and spunk. Her vocal projections are as fetching as her jazzy flute and the acoustic instruments playing a honky tonk style.
Manville has come up with a fine album of earthy, rootsie singer-songwriter material. Some People Sing will carry her to an even greater level of recognition. Look for her name on a marquee near you.