The Review Zone – Jean Watson : Wonder @jean_watson12

jeanwatson-wonderwebJEAN WATSON : Wonder. (Shadowlands Music)

My introduction to Jean Watson’s music came when I positively reviewed her ‘Christmas … not the way it seems’ album for NFN back in 2014. Michigan-based but with strong connections with Ireland, this ten track album finds Jean’s lovely voice set against the usual excellent Celtic-influenced contemporary arrangements. Here however her Irish links are more strongly represented in the form of three Irish style folk instrumentals featuring her very capable violin playing. I have to say that this juxtaposition doesn’t really work for me – the upbeat ‘Cooley’s Reel’ for instance comes as a bit much of a contrast(!) and the high speed ‘Czardas’ which follows the beautifully delivered ‘It is well’ completely jars the senses! It is difficult to select one standout track – I found ‘Wonder’, ‘Blessed be your name’, Restless’ and (the already mentioned) ‘It is well’ equally enjoyable. ‘Everything can change’ from Jean’s 2009 album of that name is repeated here in the form of a piano and voice version that suffers from the lack of ‘build’ of the original. ‘Amazing grace’ brings nothing new to that well-loved hymn. I listened in CD quality via ‘Tidal’ and the sound really is very good – including lovely deep bass available for those whose speakers can reproduce it. A bit of a mixed bag, then. 7/10. Dave Deeks

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