Sunday, December 03, 2006

Leigh Nash - Blue on Blue

The upheaval might have undone a lesser artist, but Leigh Nash hung tough through Squint’s dissolution, & Sixpence’s final parting, hanging on to create "Blue on Blue."And if you were nervous about Nash without former partner Matt Slocum, you can relax. Take a deep breath and prepare to fall in love again with the inimitable Leigh Nash, better than ever as a mature artist of substance.

Over the years, an aura of mystery and sweetness has enveloped the persona of Nash, due to both her distinct talent and her wise resistance to publicity's white hot glare. The rich warm songs of "Blue on Blue" will only add to her already considerable allure. The floaty opener "Along the Wall" presents a happy Nash, showing off her satisfaction like a cat stretched out in a sunny bay window; a cat with some unique and appealing vocal chops, that is. The gentle piano ballad, co- written by Nash and producer Pierre Marchand, showcases her signature lilt nicely, and the Dylan-like standout track "Nervous in the Light of Dawn" ups the ante with its poetic lyrics and rolling folk-rock grove. "My Idea of Heaven" comes ready to conquer radio with its playfully romantic buoyancy. It is one of many "Blue on Blue" songs richly descriptive of Nash's new contentment, reveling in the deep pleasures of life as a happily married mom. I love the whimsical piano ballad, "Ocean Size Love" and its dreamy Beatlesque changes. The song highlights Nash's matchless vocal ability to be simultaneously earthy and ethereal which, I know, doesn't even sound possible. But "Blue on Blue" will change your mind, you'll see.

Many of these songs celebrate the simple joys of love and motherhood ("None of It" and "Angel Tonight") and it's hard not to be drawn in by Nash's sincere enjoyment. The upbeat pop track "Angel Tonight" especially positively bounces with irrepressible joy. The lyric "You help me find the light I lost again" typifies the warm intimacy of "Blue on Blue." Leigh Nash has become empowered by her joy and the whole project oozes with this newfound confident charm. The pop rock changes of "Cloud Nine" recall the happiest days of Sixpence, the jazz-kissed keyboards of the bridge a perfect partner for Nash's shimmering tones. It's more Beatles in the flawless closer "Just a Little," a tender tribute to son Henry. The clarinet dancing through this wistful lullaby underscores the perceptive lyrics: "Life is a riddle that I don't have the answer for/ God breaks your heart to teach you to be strong/ I die just a little so I can live a little bit more."