First there was Kate Bush, then Tori Amos and most recently there was Vanessa Carlton. Is the world ready for another girl with a piano?
Dana Glover hails from small town North Carolina via Nashville, New York and LA. She’s worked as a model and sang a love song to an ogre in Shrek. She was raised on gospel and soul music on the radio and these influences are stamped all over her debut album.
After a sombre organ intro, Rain kicks into life, a bluesy rumination of a young woman having a crisis of faith, the strength of the music and Glover’s vocals lifting the slightly depressing lyrics. Thinking Over finds her appealing to God to help her make up her mind regarding her relationship, with a singalong chorus and a string orchestra to boot. Almost Had It All, A Reason, and Make it Real are all driving, radio-friendly pop-rock songs, with Glover providing her own choir of backing vocals.
Her soul and southern influences are most apparent on River of Love, The Way (Radio Song)- where she laments the lack of decent soul singers on the radio (“I can hear the words but I can’t feel the soul”) and Testimony, a gospelly, rhythm ‘n’ blues romp with a choir and a horn section, which brings to mind a hootenanny at the end of an episode of Later… with Jools Holland.
Glover is blessed with a remarkable voice, which, sounding like a combination of Anastacia, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones, is used to great effect sweeping from a whisper to full throttle often in the same line. Lyrically she deals with feeling suicidal or vengeful, or falling in love with a sense of optimism and belief, straying into slightly preachy territory however on Cherish.
Comparisons between Amos and Carlton, and also Mariah Carey (before the hip-hop and lack of clothing) will probably be inevitable, but the combination of different styles, and her ear for a good melody, teamed with that voice, mark Glover out as her own person. With such an impressive debut, it will be interesting to see where she goes from here.