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Tina Lear Link:

Tina Lear

Tina Lear
The Road Home
2000, Red Hat

An interesting mix. On her third album, Tina Lear again toys with show tunes, jazz and folk. She was inspired by the first Joni Mitchell album—up until then Lear thought of becoming a classical pianist. Her classical training still can be heard in her piano playing today, it has that very special, very thorough fluidity. Who knows what kind of career Lear would have had if she hadn’t decided to put it on hold when she married Harry Jackson, a renown painter and sculptor. Still, she never stopped writing music completely, even when she earned her degree in psychology. But one day she realized that what she liked doing best was music after all, so she set out to follow this path. Mitch Watkins, who already showed his skills producing Abra Moore’s terrific CD Strangest Places, is in charge here. He makes sure that Lear’s abilities are brought to the light clearly. Lear shows lots of different influences: her singing owes a lot to Barbara Streisand, whereas her music is inspired by Paul Simon and the aforementioned Joni Mitchell. Lear is not unlike a female version of singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop; she’s just got a much better and stronger voice. It was Edward Hopper’s famous painting "Nighthawks" (the one with lots of solitary people hanging around a diner) that inspired Lear to write the haunting "Flying Solo," a song about a young woman who just lost her husband and tries to console herself by going out. Other outstanding tracks include the swaying, big band-like "The Village Is Ours" and "The Other Shore" in which Lear comes to terms with the loss of a close friend. The nice thing about this record is its variety of moods and styles. Lear manages to catch the essence of everyday existence. This is the soundtrack of life; it’s about all the ultimately human beings that inhabit this planet.—Michael Gasser

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