Lorin Grean Music

Reviews

top of wooden harp with strings

Spinning Gold

An album of classic rock and alt-rock hits done on harp with accompanying vocal? Sound like a recipe for disaster? Yeah, I thought so too. Then I played Spinning Gold by harpist Lorin Grean and uttered "Well, I'll be damned." This WORKS! Why? How? Simple.

One, Lorin has excellent taste in songs. From the plaintive "I Can't Find My Way Home," (recorded by supergroup Blind Faith), to Rod Argent's "She's Not There" (made famous by The Zombies) to U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" all these songs are solid.

Two, Lorin has a VERY good voice, and without resorting to Enya-like multi-tracking. Her voice is warm, human, and she has a solid command of phrasing and shading. Three, Lorin has surrounded herself with superior accompanists (people like bassist Randy Tico, violinist Charlie Bisharat, and a whole crew of others). Lastly, her arrangements of these songs simply rock the house. For instance, her take on "Eleanor Rigby" adds even more melanchfsolic elements to the song even while shifting the rhythm to more of a midtempo number.

Highlights include a version of ELP's "In the Beginning" which, in my opinion. shreds the original. The slightly jazzy take on the song is matched by a subtly ambiguous vocal by Lorin. Delicious! "Fields of Gold," the Sting smash-hit, gets an almost pastoral treatment and becomes a delicate ultra-romantic number devoid of any pop sensibility. The aforementioned "She's Not There" is simply amazing. It's breezy and sultry in a way that the original never even imagined.

Obviously, it helps to be a baby-boomer like your beloved reviewer. Songs like Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" push all the right buttons for me. But, don't be misled by this review. This CD is a lot more than some FM radio-friendly "harp" record (is there such a thing?). Lorin is a very gifted singer. Her harp playing, while frequently more in the background than you might expect, is extraordinarily fresh and exciting. I usually loathe "cover song" albums. But this one is special. Bringing subtle jazz, world, and even classical harp elements to these contemporary gems elevates Spinning Gold to a level that literally defies categorization. So, instead of labeling this release, I guess all that needs saying is that Spinning Gold is a helluva lot of fun. Fresh, imaginative, and imminently enjoyable, this CD may not be traditional "new age" but it's "rock" solid entertainment!

Review from "Wind & Wire" by Bill Binkelman

 

Wooden Harp and Harp Strings

Lorin Grean is a weaver... a weaver of spells, of magic, of music so achingly, exquisitely beautiful that I find myself returning again and again to the solace of its enveloping warmth.

Begin with the Celtic harp, which Grean plays with easy passion. Add her voice, pure and sweet, which takes the listener into the dreamtime.

Mix in award-winning Charlie Bisharat's violin, Kevin DiSimone's piano and synthesizer, and Randy Tico's bass and percussion. Finally, stir in Native American flute, cello, additional percussion, vocals, and electric guitar, and we have a recipe for something new and wonderful in the world.

It has been called Celtic fusion or world harp but, labels aside, Hand Woven is deliciously fresh music served up with delightfully infectious joy.

Grean uses her voice as an instrument. Rather than sing songs, she vocalizes her joy in wordless riffs, weaving her voice in and out of the other instruments with such outrageous precision you would think she had digitized her voice and then sampled it. The compositions are almost entirely original creations by Grean, except fore the haunting "Sailing the Skies," which she wrote with Kenny Loggins. "Sage People" and "In Pursuit" are also co-written.

Other tracks that particularly stood out for me include "Starlight Journey," a 12-minute piece that seamlessly weaves four distinct songs in a tapestry of angelic harp and voice, sensuous percussion, and most of the instruments listed above; the title track, a 14-minute piece comprised of four contiguous songs; and "The Bengal's Secret," with Mujiba Cabugos on tamboura and Junior Homrich on tablas, berimbau, and other percussion, adding a taste of India to this wildly exotic world fusion gem.

For my money, Hand Woven is one of the best albums of 1997.

Reviewed by Steve "Edge" Ryals in New Age Retailer