Whole Life Magazine

June / July 2018

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/992438

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Page 22 of 31

art & soul MUSIC D evotional music diva Donna De Lory's new solo album, Here in Heaven, is a heart-soaring soundtrack for yoga, meditation, and everyday life. It is an intimately personal work, with songs paying poignant tribute to her late parents; open- hearted paeans to the beauty of nature and love; and inspiring messages about fi nding heaven on earth, being one with the divine, and fi nding truth within. De Lory's keen pop sensibility was honed by two decades of touring the world as Madonna's back-up singer and dancer, performing in the documentary fi lm Truth or Dare, and on the Who's That Girl, Blonde Ambition, Girlie Show, Drowned World, Reinvention, and Confession tours. She went on to extensive recording work with such artists as Bette Midler, Leonard Cohen, Belinda Carlisle, Carly Simon, and Selena and, over time, began recording her own spiritually-inspiring music. On Here in Heaven, De Lory's gravity-defying voice is delicate and soaring, a fi ne instrument that she uses with subtlety and sensitivity throughout her song cycle, which touches the soul with its beauty and emotional honesty. Her evocative melodies and e x t r a o r d i n a r y voice are framed ancient mantras, Indian and Latin tonalities, and a plethora of world, pop, and new age grooves. The album was mixed by studio wizard Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello) and features musicians who have recorded with luminaries such as Ray Charles, Madonna, Beck, and David Bowie. "The world is so crazy right now," De Lory observes. "Why not sing about what we love about life? Why not affi rm how connected we all are, and how grateful we are to be here: heaven on earth?" (Donna De Lory Music) —Tori Rose T here's no sophomore slump for Australian indie-rock star Courtney Barnett. Three years after her acclaimed debut — Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit — and less than a year after a collaborative album with Kurt Vile, the world- weary 30-year-old returns with Tell Me How You Really Feel. The confessional collection is truly a peek inside Barnett's fascinating head, fi lled with many contradictory, and human, reactions to life's complications. Barnett explores everything from raging neuroses to fl eeting joy on toe-tapping tunes like "City Looks Pretty." But it's actually a quiet note that kicks off Tell Me How You Really Feel, with "Hopefulness," a song that softly drips with anxiety and affi rmations. The opener is the apolitical album's post-political song, with Nelson Mandela's famous line repeated: "Y'know what they say/No one's born to hate/We learn it somewhere along the way." Barnett advocates for female empowerment in "I'm Not Your Mother, I'm Not Your Bitch," and "Nameless, Faceless"; the latter being a dark lament on toxic masculinity that weaves in one of writer Margaret Atwood's most famous quotes: "Men are scared that women will laugh at them/I want to walk in the dark/Women are scared that men will kill them." Barnett, openly gay, also directs ire to some of the women in her life, with brilliant kiss-off songs like "Charity," "Need a Little Time," and "Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self Confi dence." It's on songs like "Crippling" that Barnett's love of '90s rock-folk and the lo-fi sound of Liz Phair shine brightest. There's time for one more catchy self-improvement anthem, "Help Your Self," before Barnett closes on a beautifully depressing note, with the relationship tales of "Walking on Eggshells" and "Sunday Roast." In the melodic confessions of Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett does exactly that and the pleasure is all ours. (Milk! Records) —Neal Broverman By Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel Here in Heaven MUSIC By Donna De Lory June/July 2018 23

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