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The Road Home

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Album Review

With the warm, rounded tones of her singing and her pop-styled, piano-based melodies, Tina Lear's obvious antecedent as a singer/songwriter is Carole King, but as you listen to the topics of her songs and the way she approaches them, you may be reminded of a less prominent performer of the same early '70s era, Dory Previn. Lear does not descend to the psychological depths that Previn did, but like Previn she brings a mature perspective to songwriting, which so often seems to reflect a younger viewpoint. She begins with "New Love," which sounds like it could be a youth-oriented song, and she certainly gives it a girlish feel, but you can tell that, though new love, this is not first love. "It may not last, but who can tell," she sings. "Leave go the past, stay in ourselves." "There and Back Again," which follows, is one of the few songs extent in which a parent reflects on her grown daughter's decision to marry; "Woman to Woman" is a celebration of a long-term friendship; and "The Other Shore" eulogizes a deceased friend. These are the songs of a caring middle-aged, somewhat careworn woman trying to maintain her sensitivity and kick up her heels now and then. Lear matches her wise lyrics with simple yet elegant pop arrangements that touch on jazz (notably on the horn-filled New Year's Eve double-date celebration "The Village Is Ours") and new age music, but always keep their winning melodies in the forefront. The result is a thoughtful, feeling musical statement from a fully developed talent who just happens to have come to recording later in life than most. If you're one of those grownups who complains that they're just not making records for people like you anymore, this is an album you need to hear.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Tina Lear is the granddaughter of famous vaudeville comedian John (Ole) Olsen of the team of Olsen and Johnson, best known for their long-running Broadway revue of the late '30s and early '40s Hellzapoppin. She spent her early years in Switzerland and began studying piano at age four at the Geneva Conservatory. During her childhood, her family moved around, while she continued studying with the goal of being a concert pianist, until she heard Joni Mitchell and began aspiring to be a singer/songwriter....
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The Road Home, Tina Lear
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