Jennifer Cutting Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey CD

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Jennifer Cutting Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey CD. Orchestral Celtic folk ensemble Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra deliver a beautifully constructed work with SONGS FOR THE NIGHT SEA JOURNEY. "Call of the Siren," "Sands of Time," and "Forgiveness" are among the tracks.
Jennifer Cutting isn't a huge name in the folk-rock world, but if Ocean: Songs for the Night Sea Journey is any indication, the Washington, DC-based songwriter, arranger and producer is well worth getting to know -- especially if one fancies folk-rock with a strong British Isles influence. Cutting, in fact, has so many British, Irish and Celtic influences that one could easily assume she has from that part of the world. But Cutting is definitely an American; she just happens to have a major appreciation of British, Irish and Celtic folk -- and that British Isles influence asserts itself quite strongly on original material like "The Gladdest Breeze," "Call of the Siren" and "My Grief on the Sea" (all of which underscore the tranquil, pastoral nature of her work). There are a few songs on this CD that aren't entirely original; "If You Are Near," for example, combines a classical aria by Johann Sebastian Bach with English words. But Cutting's own songs dominate this 2004 release, which demonstrates that she's a stellar writer able to coax superb performances out of the assembled group. So who is the target audience for Ocean? Anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring British folk will appreciate the way Cutting draws on influences like Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, June Tabor and Steeleye Span; in fact, two of Cutting's guests on this album (Maddy Prior and Peter Knight) have been with Steeleye Span. Prior is one of the four vocalists bringing Cutting's vision to life, the others are Polly Bolton, Grace Griffith and Lisa Moscatiello. \Celtic folk enthusiasts will also enjoy the way Clannad and the Chieftains have affected some of Cutting's writing. But Cutting is her own person, and this pleasing effort lets us know that she has an appealing folk-rock vision of her own. ~ Alex Henderson


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