From Philip O'Hanlon - Review of Truly
Truly, is, in my opinion, Lori Lieberman’s finest album to-date, both musically & sonically, guaranteed to become an audiophile favorite. A potpourri of fresh covers from the American Songbook, sprinkled with new, original compositions, embellished by original arrangements, played by some of the finest musicians, Truly was recorded, mixed and mastered to perfection.I have been following Lori Lieberman’s career for the past two decades and am excited at the prospect of playing Lori’s latest offering “Truly” at AXPONA in Chicago on vinyl.My observations are based on listening to the 24-192 WAV files, I expect nothing short of goosebumps over the weekend as we play the “Truly” LP.Joe Cali, executive producer, assembled a grammy award winning crew for Truly. Lori ’s voice is in shockingly fine form, but wait until you hear Matt Rollings on piano & Hammond B-3 organ and the amazing Lyle Workman on guitar. The album was co-produced by Lori Lieberman and Matt Rollings. Recorded & mixed by Bob Clearmountain and mastered by Darcy Proper. This is Lori’s finest sounding album by an Irish mile.Eight songs are covers which Lori listened to with her father, while driving in Switzerland as a child, bopping to an eight track car stereo. Two originals were co-written forty years ago with Joe Harnell and never previously recorded. While there is one fresh composition, the title track “Truly” and a wonderful re-imagining of Lori’s classic - “Killing Me Softly”. Matt Rollings gorgeous jazz improvisation on piano opens the song, later the song is fleshed out by David Pitch (bass), Victor Indrizzo (drums) & Lyle Workman (guitar). I have heard Lori perform this song many times live. The original version, recorded when Lori was 19, sounds truly dated; over produced with excessive reverb on the the vocals. I first heard this on her “A Thousand Dreams” CD, recorded by Mark Levinson with two microphones; an audiophile favorite. Then the beautiful version on “Gun Metal Sky” with a gorgeous Spanish guitar and tasteful backing vocals. But the Truly version adds 21’st century sophistication and takes this classic song to a whole new level. The interplay between vocals, piano & guitar is sublime and so tasteful. Hats off to Matt Rollings for a gorgeous arrangement. Lori’s new version is the most heartfelt and brought Bob Clearmountain to tears as you can see in the video - https://vimeo.com/691238342Lori’s “Moonlight In Vermont” sounds remarkably fresh and current. The song opens with Matt Rollings piano which provides a wonderful counterpoint to her singing. When the rhythm section and Lyle Workman on guitar join in, the party starts to swing. Lyle Workman’s twenty second guitar sorbet is clean & refreshing, every note tugs at your heart. We are talking goosebumps territory here. Lori continues singing with the band in full swing - it’s glorious. Here singing displays maturity & delivers wonderful shades of emotion & passion.From a technical POV, the album was recorded live at Apogee Studios by Bob Clearmountain using a much revered Neve analogue mixing console. Lori’s voice was mic’d with a Neumann M49 (tube) on the vocals, and a Neumann U67 on the guitars. There are NO overdubs, the synergy between the musicians is palpable. Lori is singing her heart out, I have never heard her singing better. Lori Lieberman has matured beautifully and found real character in her performance.As for the sound quality, expect a lovely black background, three-dimensional soundstage, with beautiful rich tone, carefully crafted sound quality by grammy award winning engineers; it’s a top shelf project and it sounds it.