April 2008

Paris-born French-Italian Lea Jones may epitomize the traditional and exotic European beauty, but her musical heart is rooted in America. Her songs recapture what has been missing from U.S. pop music since the ’80s, the soulful depth that added a timeless quality to even the most innocuous lyrics. 
Julian Wilson: You have the features of a model. Do you do modeling work as well?
Lea Jones: I thought about it, but singing means so much more to me that I did not choose to.
Wilson: The song, “Lucky Boy,” embraces hip-hop, R&B, and even Adult Contemporary. Have you always been this eclectic in your musical styles?
Jones: Music is universal, even if I always have been influenced by soul, R&B, groovy sounds. This is who I am. French-Italian, living in the U.S. for so long, travelling, learning and trying to understand different cultures and styles. Studying piano, accordion, blues, opera singing, and now working with Ron Anderson, the most amazing voice teacher I have ever met.
Wilson: How much creative input do you have in your songs?
Jones: It depends on the songs. For the most part, I collaborated with Donna Wintergreen who knew how to put words on my ideas, melodies or words I had written. For “Lucky Boy,” Jean-Michel Soupraya (producer, composer, arranger) found the hook, then Frank Gelibert, his associate, came to help and arrange the song. In two days, it was done. This is real teamwork. And I would like to also thank Eddie Adams, who always believed in me. How much input I have does not really matter to me; it all becomes real thanks to an incredible team who worked together.
Wilson: How long have been in the music industry?
Jones: I have been singing, writing, and composing for as long as I can remember.
Wilson: Where were your born and what kind of music did you grow up on?
Jones: I was born in Paris, in Montmartre, next to the Moulin Rouge. It is a very creative and artistic area of Paris. I grew up listening to Edith Piaf, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones – any kind of music I could find, but mostly American.
Wilson: What can people expect from your full-length CD?

Jones: Surprise! A soulful adventure. It will probably talk a lot about life’s ups and downs, emotions. A very professional production and great lyrics, sounds, melodies, and even songs with an orchestra.



Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Ravi Miriam Maron/Call from the Narrows

Ravi Miriam Maron’s Call from the Narrows is a double-CD set of Hebraic chants and spiritually powered world music. Recalling the transcendent mix of ancient vocal stylings and modern arrangements that made Dead Can Dance and the late Ofra Haza so alluring, Maron is able to take what could only be appealing to a specific crowd and make it attractive a far larger audience. The dreamlike, otherworldly textures of Maron’s singing will draw inevitable comparisons to Enya; however, Maron’s music digs deeper than that, drawing upon Biblical and other centuries-old text.

If, upon reading the description above, you think that Call from the Narrows isn’t easy to sit through, let me assure you that it isn’t. This is music that not only soothes the ears but the soul as well. On “Clear the Way,” Maron’s vocals are as ethereal as the evening stars; they will enchant you, dazzle you. “Great Mother” has punchy drums with a straighforward dance rhythm a la Haza and Peter Gabriel. “Preparation” and “I Must Follow” are songs of incredible beauty.


Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Christine Mag. Strasser/All for One

All for One is world music that is definitely, without question, both inspired by and trying to reach a higher power. Whether you believe in God – or a god at all – will not affect your enjoyment of this album. However, even the atheists among you might begin to have second thoughts because the songs here have an otherworldly glow that is not based in material experience. It helps that Christine Mag. Strasser has such a heavenly voice. No, not heavenly in the cliched Christian music sense of the word, but aiming for spiritual transcendence, which she does on nearly every track.

Strasser doesn’t have much instrumental accompaniment other than acoustic guitars, flute, and percussion. Her vocals are the focus here, especially on “Jesus Song” and “Gayatri,” wherein Strasser’s singing seems to be sent from the stars; imagine Enya with a deeper, more somber voice. “Praise the Lord” is illuminated by swirling riffs and peaceful, breathtakingly beautiful harmonizing while “Chandra Shekaraya” and “Ave Maria” unreel with gorgeous cinematic imagery. This is a work of art as well as a labor of love.