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Brenda David Better Part of Me Cadillac Records Brenda David approaches music with the seasoned skills of a longtime vet. Her voice exudes self-confidence and charm and not false sentimentality or forced angst. And although she branches out into different styles on this CD, her singing follows a straightforward path of jazz-styled chill-out calmness. She never gets overly emotional even on a topic as sad and shocking as The Muslim women who are forced to live their lives with their faces covered and their rights severed ("Behind the Veil"). Co-produced by David herself, this is a polished, classy affair aching for major-label status. With the rise of online marketing, we are seeing more unsigned solo acts renting quality studio time and surrounding themselves with top-notch talent. David is easily among the best of the current crop. On "Call Your Name," David presents herself as a country girl with a spiritual heart and a poet's eye for imagery: "It rolls in like thunder/Settles in like rain/A mist against the window/Thoughts gathered on the pane/Against the darkness of the night." Yes, the lady can write as well as she can sing. There's a bit of roots rock in David, and of all the chameleon shape shifting she does I find myself enjoying that part of her the best, which takes hold on "When I'm Gone" and "Come In From the Rain." I have a soft spot for jangling guitars, and it's refreshing to hear a shot of Americana sung by a woman. On the title cut, David slips into a jazz mood, and while her laidback vocals seem best suited for that, she has no problems at all adjusting to the mood swings of her muse. Ink 19 music magazine Kyrby Raine
'DAVID, BRENDA' 'Better Part of Me' - Label: 'Cadillac Records' - Genre: 'Pop' - Release Date: '2006' Our Rating: Singer/songwriter Brenda David ( isn't content to stay within the framework of one genre. On "Better Part of Me," she wears several different hats yet manages to produce a consistently good and emotionally stirring record. Thankfully, David's eclecticism doesn't turn the record into an unfocused mess; the stylistic detours (for the lack of a better term - David can't be categorized) add distinct flavors to the album intead of suggesting a short attention span. David begins the record with the jazzy shuffle of the title track in which Latin rhythms and some wonderfully pretty acoustic guitars complement the icy coolness of her voice. It has a breezy air that sweeps the rest of the CD. However, right after that David plunges into '80s soft rock with "Second Chance"; its upbeat MOR pop would've made it a hit on Adult Contemporary radio stations circa 1983, especially with those sugar-sweetened keyboards. It's among my favourite songs on the LP simply because of the innocent time period it reflects. But, as I mentioned in the start, David never sticks to one genre as she explores country music on "Call Your Name" and "I'll Be the One"; Adult Album Alternative on "When I'm Gone" and "Come In From the Rain"; and even world music on "Behind the Veil," a powerful song that blasts how women are treated in the Muslim world. Illuminated by sitars and violins, "Behind the Veil" is a striking artistic as well as eye-opening social statement. author: Adam Harrington
Brenda David soars Launching to a big time career By Rick Grant Entertaining U newspaper Against all odds, many delays, and a cancer scare, Brenda David finally completed her break-through record album, Better Part of Me under her deal with Cadillac Records. Brenda organized a lavish showcase concert with a ten piece all-star band to introduce her hot new material to her fans at the Atlantic Theatres last Sunday night. Attending Brenda’s sold out show was like stepping into a wormhole vortex, materializing at a Vegas hotel nightclub. It was, unequivocally, a spectacular showcase with the best of the best musicians in the region on stage, most of whom I’ve known for years. Considering the ensemble had only two rehearsals, it sounded amazingly tight. For the Better part of Me sessions, Brenda wrote the lyrics and music, collaborating with her husband Richard Smith, who penned one of the songs on the album. This CD represents Brenda’s deeply personal musical expressions of her life and includes a song about the women in Afghanistan titled Behind the Veil. On the Atlantic Theatre stage was a legion of seasoned musicians, including Mike Maple o drums. Richard Smith (Brenda’s husband) on bass, Mark Dennison on guitar keyboards and vocals, Brian Greene on acoustic guitar, keyboard and vocals, Kevin Banks on guitar, bass, mandolin, sitar and keyboard, Kelley Rees on backing vocals, Denis Marion on trumpet, Rebecca Zapen on violin, Linda Minke on cello and Eric Moore on keyboards. Rebecca Zapen shined on a couple of songs during which she was a featured soloist.. Of course, Kevin Banks smoked with his brilliant guitar work. Mike Maple, who I consider to be one of the two best drummers in the southeast and the planet, was cooking with great beat. Richard and Brian from Three Way Street are already tight from playing together so much, so they were stand-outs in Brenda’s musical army. Brenda looked drop dead gorgeous and her voice was unwaveringly strong and confident. She communicated well with the sold out audience, which included many friends, fans and collaborators.. Brenda’s songs are eclectic in scope and fall somewhere into a blues influenced pop spectrum. I liked all of Brenda’s songs but favored Letters to Rebecca, Behind the Veil, and Restless Hearts. I also loved the title cut and Come in from the Rain. The album is impeccably mixed and mastered. Brenda could take her 10 piece band and book gigs in Vegas – really!
Brenda David by Kyrby Raine Singer/songwriter Brenda David is no newcomer, but it took her eight years to release her first album, Scratch, in 1998. However, what genre David belongs in remains an unsolved puzzle. Unafraid of pop experimentation (the genre-leaping kind), David shape shifts so much on her new LP, Better Part of Me, that you might get whiplash. But unpredictable artists generate the most excitement, and David was kind enough to try to explain her chameleon ways. You've been around since 1989 yet your current music, at least the Better Part of Me CD, isn't rooted stylistically in any time period. How have you been able to stay active playing music all these years and continue to pursue various genres without being tempted to stick to a formula? There was a time in the beginning of my music career when I was pushed by others to sing cover songs that didn’t necessarily flatter my vocal style and simply didn’t appeal to me musically. That drove me to want to learn how to play guitar and write my own songs. I am far more inspired when I play and sing my own material as opposed to doing covers. My favorite way to perform is as a solo guitarist, and my performances are just like my records. I go from country to blues to Adult Contemporary in 30 minutes but somehow it all flows and people love it. I think that what I do is take these different styles and sprinkle a little bit of myself on top and that’s what makes it all sound cohesive. It seems to appeal to a wide range of people. Also, I use a lot of strategic planning in the placement of the songs next to each other. There’s some underlying invisible string that ties each song together. There’s too much to explore musically to try to stick to one formula…to me that would be more contrived than just going where I think the song lends itself. There's jazz, Adult Contemporary, and college rock on your album, but it's "Behind the Veil," with its Middle Eastern touches and sociopolitical lyrics about Muslim women that I find most intriguing. What's the story behind the tale? I wrote "Behind the Veil" in 1999, before 9/11 and all that followed. I received an email from someone that described what the women of Afghanistan were enduring and how the world seemed to be ignoring their situation. I was so moved by the story of how women who had been doctors and lawyers and mothers and teachers were then being isolated in their own homes, not allowed to make a sound, or learn, or go out in public, or show any part of their skin without being beaten or stoned. I saw pictures of them in their burquas and thought that could be me and my sister and my mom if we had the misfortune to be born in Afghanistan. I wrote that song and started playing it at some of my gigs and always people would come to ask me about the lyrics. It really moved a lot of people to understand what was happening over there. I don’t typically write political songs, but that one truly just wrote itself. I think what makes it unique is that it ties us all to the situation. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we can’t ignore what’s going on in another part of the world just because it doesn’t seem to be affecting us directly. As we learned, it all affects each of us. When you write a song, do you think, "Oh, here's my country tune," or "This will be the perfect jazz track." Are you self-conscious of it or does it flow naturally? I typically write songs on my acoustic guitar. Believe it or not they all sound pretty similar in the beginning stages when it’s just me and my guitar. Just ask my dog Kelsey - she's the only one who hears them at that stage! It’s when we get into the studio that they start to morph and take shape into a distinct flavor. The song usually tells me which direction it wants to go. I have amazing musicians who come in and we might try a lot of different tempos and/or instruments before we hit on the right thing but once we do everbody knows it. All of a sudden it feels comfortable, like an old bathrobe. You just know when it’s right. Even if it becomes a heavy metal polka, I try to take it where it feels comfortable and at home! You've been quite successful in Europe. How did you acquire a following there? Right after I released Scratch I began to receive a lot of radio play throughout Europe and Africa. Scratch had huge success on the overseas radio market, especially in Europe and Africa. I toured Africa, performing all original music backed by amazing African musicians. It was an incredible experience! The overseas market is a wonderful resource, especially for independent and small label artists. Often in the U.S., commercial radio stations dictate what gets played by the Billboard charts and being signed by a major label. The overseas market is wide open to independents and you can have commercial airplay right alongside major label artists. Recording and releasing a cd is only the first, very small step in the process. There are countless hours of work that go into the marketing and distribution process in order to take your music to the world. I’m privileged to have great representation through Sutton Publicity and I’m also thrilled to be represented in the Philippines through Mondo Distribution and in Africa through Uchman Concepts International. We have plans underway for performances in Africa in the spring.
Singer/songwriter Brenda David may shuffle the deck when it comes to musical genres, but the one constant is her icy cool and radio-friendly voice, which is ideal for jazz but also suits her well in her stylistic juggling act. David introduces herself to us with the sultry Latin jazz of the title track. Plush acoustic strings are caressed by the warmth of David's singing, opening the record on a vibrant, sensual note. But like a chameleon changing its skin, David jumps on another train for the next song, “Second Chance,” which oddly recalls the laid-back Adult Contemporary pop of Michael McDonald. If that wasn't a departure enough, David slips into country on “Call Your Name.” A tad schizophrenic, you think? Not quite. David is simply an artist who is exploring the possibilities of pop music. Despite the startling shifts in tempo and arrangements, David's vocals remain soulful; even when aiming to be playfully detached, as on the jazz track “Restless Hearts,” her voice has a bittersweet quality that transcends genre. To achieve the album's eclectic approach, David is engagingly supported by violins, cellos, trumpets, and even sitar on “Behind the Veil,” a Middle Eastern-flavored cut that expresses sadness for Muslim women who are forced to live their lives beneath a mask. However, it's not a political song; rather, David personalizes the issue, seeing the women as sisters of her own caught in an ancient belief that imprisons her freedom. With all of the creative experimentation on Better Part of Me, ironically it is David's songwriting that probably leaves the most indelible mark. Visit Brenda David on the web. Track listing: Better Part of Me; Second Chance; Call Your Name; When I'm Gone; Come In From the Rain; Behind the Veil; I'll Be the One; Restless Hearts; Letters to Rebecca. Personnel: Brenda David: voice, guitar; Richard Smith: guitar, bass; Kevin Banks: guitar, mandolin, sitar; Mike Maple: drums; Rebecca Zapen: violin; Eric Errin: guitar; Mark Dennison: guitar, keyboards, drum programming; Kenny Smith: keyboards; Linda Minke: cello. Style: Vocal Michael Sutton Promotions & Publicity
Brenda David is one of the most complete singer-songwriters to come along in awhile; her lyrics are compelling and provocative, delivering them with restrained power and emotional grace. “Call Your Name” could very well have been written by Bruce Springsteen for one of his solo albums. “When I'm Gone” is reminiscent of Melissa Etheridge, but with a funky edge. That all being said, David never comes across as a copycat or wanna-be. Her voice is her canvas, her lyrics are her brushes, and she paints glorious pictures when those two meet. Some artists write songs that might teach the listener a little bit about themselves. Some artists write songs that are a direct reflection of themselves. Brenda David manages to accomplish both without sacrificing any of the fun and excitement of her music. She could be played in many situations whether it be study time or dinner parties, drive time or night-time relaxation. She is the total package. More on Brenda David:
Right from the very first track, Brenda David's Better Part of Me wraps the listener up with her silky voice and smooth grooves. Her incredibly honest delivery of these first-class songs gives you the feeling that she has known you all of your life. Somehow she seems to know your most personal secrets that you never would have told anyone but your own soul mate. Yet from the knowing sensuousness of “Come In From the Rain” to the declaration of eternal companionship in “I'll Be the One,” you will come away with the feeling that you somehow have known her as well for a very long time. Aside from the songs themselves, I found myself re-listening to the whole album for the subtle, yet awe-inspiring musicianship. Nothing overpowered or overshadowed anything in the production. The guitars (especially on “Second Chance”), violins, and drums were all extremely complimentary to each other as well as to the songs themselves. I highly recommend giving Brenda David a listen. You might just discover a better part of yourself. - Michael Sutton 1/18/07
Brenda David's music is like walking into a dimly lit upper class restaurant and reading a menu of choices. This is adult contemporary pop, rock, jazz, and all of the above mixed in to formulate a palette of color and sound that is satisfying and very relaxing. The lady has a nice approach, a smooth clear voice that assures you that what she is vocalizing means something. I know it sounds like a novelty in these times...there are actually some independent artists out there that make good music with lyrics you actually can understand and relate to. I find it rather refreshing. "Call Your Name" and "I'll Be the One" are country-pop tunes that I can hear playing on the radio and "Better Part of Me,' the lead off track with a jazz-pop feel to it, is one of the standouts. The artist gets some stellar musical support from a list of musicians that obviously have earned the respect they deserve in the industry, at least amongst those that know something about music and how to make it, namely Ms. David. Its like they say in business, every great manager is surrounded by a supporting cast that helps to propel that individual to success, and it works both ways, it's a reciprocal relationship and that is what I hear going on consistently on Better Part of Me. The choice of tracks and the tempo set for each is perfect on this recording. I like the shifting moods of the lyrical content. I can appreciate the rock solid consistency this CD has, especially once it all boils down and you get to the meat and potatoes of each song. You hear everything you are supposed to all set to some music that pulls you in and makes you pay attention to the vocalist while following her muse right along with her-just like the pied piper. I like this album because it feels real, sincere, with no additives that are bad for your health spiritually, in fact it has the opposite reaction, its all good and you walk away feeling like you should give it another spin. "Behind The Veil" makes a powerful statement about a woman behind the veil of her own prison walls living with the Taliban. This song comes out of nowhere and really snaps you to attention after the previous five tracks, which deal with the varying states of human emotions. It's quite the segue that makes you rethink what this artist is all about. Again, it's all good and worth pondering some more.