Posts Tagged ‘Abby Burke’

ImageAbby Burke is a very talented Nashville-based singer who has spent many years perfecting her craft. After a long time in the music business, Burke has proven herself as the singer she has become known as. It is this singer that finally decided to go forward and create a release that incorporates many different genres of music into one solid album. On her 2004 debut CD entitled Finally! The Album, Abby Burke showcases her ability to perform any style.

Of course, Finally! The Album is not just about Abby Burke. The release also features a group of musicians known as The Manly Band. The Manly Band consists of guitarists Darin Favorite and Roddy Smith, bassists Roy Vogt and Tim Smith, keyboard player Jeff Lisenby, sax player Glenn Burke, harmonica player Charlie McCoy, percussionists Justin Meeks and Steve Weckerly and background singer Jen Farley. Together, Abby Burke and the Manly Band make up a musical ensemble that is capable of taking just the right blend of genres and creating an album that not only changes constantly from track to track because of the various genres at work on the album, it also allows Abby the chance to show off her talent to sing any style.

Finally! The Album from Abby Burke and the Manly Band contains a balnd of musical standards like George Gershwin’s “Summertime” as well as other well-known tunes. The majority of the release, however, is made up of composition written by some of Nashville’s best songwriters. Two members of the Manly Band have even contributed to the songs on the album, as the song “I Will” was composed by Roddy and Tim Smith.

The album begins with the song “Mine Child,” a tune written by Rachel Owen. The song begins with the guitar playing of Darin Favorite as he lays down some very smokin’ notes to start off the song. When Abby begins singing, her voice is partially bluesy and partially soulful. The song is a very strong way to begin this strong release.

The ensemble immediately changes directions with the feel of their music on the next track. “I Love You for a Day” is a slow-paced tune with a jazzy approach to the music. The lyrics about a forbidden desire add a touch of sadness to the song. The soulful playing by Glenn Burke on the saxophone is what really brings home that jazzy feel.

Another track on Finally! The Album that features sadness to the lyrics is the song “Time”. The focus on this track is most definitely on Abby Burke and her beautiful voice. On this track, you can really feel the emotion in Burke’s voice as she laments about how long she has lived with a broken heart and the fact that the pain has never gone away. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album despite the light feel of the music.

While all but one song on the album was written by someone outside of the group, each song that is included on the release was arranged by someone in the group, if not the whole band itself. It is the arrangement that is the main focus on the Gershwin standard “Summertime,” the song that came out of Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess.

On Finally! The Album, the Gershwin classic “Summertime” was arranged by bassist Tim Smith. The first part of the track features a passage that features only Smith and Abby in a “duet” as they perform a very blues-flavored minute or so of music before the musical landscape changes drastically and the song takes on a “smooth jazz” feel. The unique arrangement of this standard makes it perhaps the most unique and best song on the entire release.

The song with perhaps the most Top 40 radio potential to it is the song “I Can’t Stand the Rain”. The strong bass and drum bottom to the song, mixed with powerful playing of Glenn Burke on the saxophones, together with the rest of the band all combine with Abby Burke’s strong vocals to create a song with mass appeal and make it the track that the listener will probably gravitate towards the most because of the energy produced by the musicians.

Another “standard” that appears on Finally! The Album is the Bill Withers tune “Ain’t No Sunshine”. This is the one track that truly feels like an ensemble arrangement, as several of the musicians in the band take turns with solos. And Abby’s delivery on this track feels as heartfelt as anything else on the release; maybe more. The arrangement by the band on this track gives the song a fresh approach, setting it apart from the original version that was written back in 1935.

The twelve tracks that make up Finally! The Album from Abby Burke and the Manly Band are quite different from one track to the next, giving the album a fresh approach throughout the nearly fifty minutes of music. Together, Abby Burke and the Manly Band have produced one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. Give the band a listen- you won’t be disappointed!

This is a review that I created to showcase Abby Burke and her band. I originally wrote an article to promote this wonderful release back in 2005. The original version of this article was very short and looked nothing like this. This version of the review is much better at conveying the idea I wanted to get across over five years ago.