Music Reviews


Reviews 11-18-2006


Pillar of Stone

by Joelle

Visit Joelle's  website


Every once in awhile a real gem of a CD shows up in my Cutting Edge Voices PO Box and my hat is off to Luck Media and Marketing for putting this CD into my hands. Joelle is based out of Calgary Canada and will be exporting this CD to theU.S. early in 2007 and after listening to it constantly since it showed up a few days I'd have to give it a big thumbs up. This may be Joelle's break through release but with a producer like Chris Omartian (son of Michael Omartian) behind her the CD has a feel to it of a performer who is already hitting her stride and not afraid to let loose with everything she has. Joelle offers us up a power/pop rock mix that grabs hold of you from Tongue Tied which opens the disc right on through So Alive which closes out this 10 song CD. There are some tasty guitar licks throughout the disc provided by Tommy “Slash” Collier which only serves to emphasize the fact that Joelle’s voice is more than capable of holding her own against the strong instrumentation that accompanies her on this project. A good example of this is the song Your Love is (Deafening) which is one of my personal favorites on this disc.  The song pounds out a steady drum beat as the lead guitar wails in around this strong beat Joelle’s voice acts as the glue that pulls it altogether into a memorable song that will probably have you on your feet before it is over.   

Lest you think that this CD is nothing but power chords and heavy beats there are songs like So Alive or Natural Beauty which dials back the heavy beats and the electric guitars and allows Joelle to showcase her ability to sing a more delicate ballad type of a song. It also allows the listener the chance to see that her voice is just as meaningful and expressive while singing these ballads as it is when she is going head to head with the more in your face elements of some of the other songs found on this CD. So Alive even features some keyboard work from Chris’ father Michael Omartian who some of you may remember from a string of well received albums from the 70’s including White Horse and Adam Again and it is this delicate keyboard work that allows Joelle’s voice to be the spotlight of the song. Listening to the lyrics I also detect some not so subtle messages being conveyed to Joelle’s listeners about the role that women occupy in a lot of modern  relationships and how that is not going to be the case anymore. Check out In Your Dreams which moves back and forth between what is the norm and what is really being felt and with lyrics like “You prima donna, I’m not your mama, do your own damn dirty laundry” you start to get the picture of what this title really means. The same theme is pounded out again and again in songs like Pillar of Stone and All 4 Me that of finding your inner strength, your individuality in face of pressures to compromise what you believe and the confidence to be yourself above all else. 

The one song that seems out of place on this CD is the song God Forgive Me which delves into social consciousness, spirituality and how we as individuals should be more aware of our surroundings and on the look out for ways to help those less fortunate than ourselves. That is not to say that this is not a good song or that the lyrics are not relevant to those who hear them but it just seemed a little odd sitting there among all the other ballads and edgy pop/rock tunes that comprise this CD. It definitely has some great hooks with the lead guitar right up front again along with a nice moving beat that pulls you into the song but maybe this one song might have been better off on a collection of music that was more pointedly aimed at this type of song. This one song is certainly not going to change my mind about the CD as a whole though. 

This is a first class production and I can see Joelle has a musical future ahead of her that looks quite bright from my vantage point. With the forthcoming release of her CD Pillar of Stone in 2007 Joelle shows a musically maturity that  was not completely realized in her previous full length CD Look At Me Now or her EP Sugar. Her own growth as an artist and the addition of Chris Omartian to the production mix were just the final two ingredients to take Joelle’s music to the next level. I would definitely recommend that you get out there and get yourself a copy of this CD when it becomes available and then keep your eye on Joelle as I think that her star is on the rise. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Michael Foster editor of CEV