Life's journey continues for Leigh Nash, who offers her first solo album after the Sixpence era. Blue on Blue's dreamy contemporary soundscape showcases Nash's delicate, wispy voice and poetic lyricism with eleven incandescent selections, including "Along the Wall," "Nervous in the Light of Dawn," "Never Finish," and more.
LOVE, SALVATION AND THE JOY OF BIRTH
Its been more than two years since Leigh Nash and her longtime musical compatriot Matt Slocum agreed to fold up the tent known as Sixpence None the Richer. That means fans have been waiting two years for the inevitable solo debut of Mrs. Nash. Considering Sixpence took five years between its last two albums, two years seems like nothing.
Theres no use trying to critique a Leigh Nash solo record without referencing her work in Sixpence. It was her gently aching voice that brought Slocums songs to life; and Sixpence was a fantastic band that many fans already miss terribly. Fortunately for them, Nashs Blue on Blue compares very favorably indeed. Though certainly not a Sixpence sound-alike, the same love of melody, texture and romance shines through. And rest assured, this is no soundtrack-driven
compilation of Kiss Me tributes either. In short, Nash has delivered exactly what Sixpence fans came to expectexcellence.
Though self-released, Blue on Blue is far from indie in its aesthetics. Producer Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan, Daniel Lanois) brings the songsall written or co-written by Nashto life with articulate grace. Though predominantly oriented around vocal and piano, the music never sounds sparse. From pure pop to borderline rock, with colors bright and subdued, Nash rallies her Sixpence experience to great effect, managing the sonic options well.
Lyrically, the collection is truly fascinating. The dominant, if not central, theme is the birth of her first child two years ago, though a casual listen may not make that apparent. Angel Tonight and Just a Little both deal with the subject of new parenthood while never settling for sentimentality. They reflect on connection, intimacy and unconditional love in a way that, while particularly interesting from a parental perspective, works on other levels as well. When the baby isnt the pink elephant in the room, Nashs relationship with her husband, Mark Nash (PFR), is. The sublime opening track, Along the Wall (co-written by Marchand), places all of the forthcoming romance, struggle, fear and bliss smack in the lap of the Almighty.
Overall, Nashs solo debut more than lives up to expectations. Artful and accessible, the winsome charm of the Sixpence-era Leigh Nash remains, while she deftly breaks new ground of her own. The albums spirituality is as gentle as the voice that explores it and may be lost on more didactic ears; but, on the whole, Blue on Blue is about as satisfying as faith-informed art gets.
JOHN J. THOMPSON CCMMagazine.com
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