Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a British perspective on all that’s good, and not so good, in the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Readers of these pages may not instantly recognize the name of Dyann Woody but lovers of country music most certainly will. Dyann, with her husband Michael, is part of the Country Music group The Woodys, a band that enjoyed early success when their debut album on Rounder Records climbed to first place on the Americana Charts. They followed this up with a number of other critically acclaimed releases but now Dyann has a solo CD, My Softer Side. It represents a considerable shift for her both in genre and in style.
Inspired by the emergence of Norah Jones, Dyann began to compose a set of tracks that formed the basis for My Softer Side. In fact she writes or co-writes eleven of the tunes that make up this collection and complements her own work by the selection of two choice covers.
All this said My Softer Side is not a smooth jazz recording as such. It reaches across many genres and includes snippets of jazz, pop and blues. With the consistent thread of carefully crafted lyrics she never fail to tell a story and in so doing confirms her true country origins.
With My Softer Side, Dyann covers the whole musical spectrum. Spanning romantic tunes like ‘That’s When I Saw Stars’, ‘Broken Hearts Make Beautiful Songs’ and ‘Crazy Round Here’ (where Barry Walsh contributes delightful piano) through to out ands out cabaret numbers such as ‘My Softer Side’ she makes every track a surprise. As one would expect, on the memorable ‘All That Love Can Do’ Dyann proves she is a great country rocker and she reprises these country vibes with ‘All You Gotta Say’.
One of the albums notables is ‘Will You Ever Come Home’ with a bluesy backing and a Van Morrison ‘Moondance’ kind of thing going on. It shows a more soulful side of Dyann but just as good is ‘On The Horizon’, held together with a good chorus and strong backing it is reminiscent of 70’s Joni Mitchell but with Woodys hallmark crystal clear sound. Best track on the CD is ‘To Get Over Me’, a romantic mid temp tune that benefits from a cool Hammond organ solo.
Dyann Woody has a voice with a tone and a resonance that is as clear as a bell and perfect for the live stage. With My Softer Side she has created a vehicle capable of taking in her in whatever direction she chooses to go.
For more on The Woodys, and where to see them perform check out www.thewoodysmusic.com.Posted by Denis Poole at October 14, 2005 6:04 PM