Friday, July 30, 2010

Grace Stumberg: "to whom it may concern" CD Review

Grace Stumberg soars as a supernova on her first CD,  "to whom it may concern."  Released by Popadelic Records, produced by Bob James/Cabin5Studios, Grace Stumberg, Audio Magic, CGR Audio, Soundscape Recording and Zittel Street House of Sonic Affairs; this 12 track masterpiece is exactly what this world is waiting and bleeding for.

Grace Stumberg, an enlightened young woman, gives thanks to her parents for providing support, introducing her to music at a young age.  In addition to Robert James, musical career coach and guitarist, and musicians such as:  Bob James, Howard Fleetwood Wilson II,  Robby Takac (Goo Goo Dolls), Emmi James, Dave Riffel, Marc Hunt, Bethany Deyell, Cathy Carfagna, Rob Deyell, Jim Calabrese, Buffalo Select Chorus, Ana Vafal, Diana Nowak, and Brian DeJesus; with design by Erica Eichelkraut and Music in Action; this CD is well worth owning.   

The first track, Change the World, is a global call for solidarity. From the voice of one Western New York musician, first performing this at New York State's Capitol in Albany; Change the World embodies all our voices into one musical message, apparent in the chorus, "Cause I will change the world / with all that I am / I will change the world / I know I can."  Grace's powerful vocals are intoxicating, stirring the spirit to act seen here, "Life is too short to waste any time / so I'm gonna sing this song and shine."  Change the World is prolific. It is a message of a generation, "So many faces around me / so much pressure to fit in / Who will I be / where will I begin / is the question I ask from within / But I won't stop / until I know that my dreams will come true."  

© Erica Eichelkraut

The title track, to whom it may concern, is a story of how often we are shot down for our dreams. Grace's acoustics along with Cathy Carfagna on accordion, Bethany Deyell on violin, Rob Deyell on acoustics and Howard Fleetwood Mayall II on percussion, make this a powerful call to never allow anything to stop you from reaching your goal. " Ready or not here I come / Now that I'm tall / you hold my dreams so low / Keep trying to shoot me down / but I won't give in, no."

Track 5, "The Roses", (my personal favorite although the entire CD is simply divine), begins with a melancholy Dylanesque acoustic similar to the intro of  "One More Cup of Coffee."  Grace's vocals belt angelic, "She said ohhhh . . . look at the roses / so beautiful and bright."  This tune brings folk and bluegrass  mainstream.  The Roses" is bittersweet, beautiful hurt.

Track 11, WarTune, is a raw outpouring of emotion, "Why do you let them put you through / what you don't want to be put through?"  War Tune is a nice surprise coming from this acoustic/electric performer, "Some say the present/ learn from the past/ if that's the case / then why the hell are we in a war that lasts?" Simultaneous, Grace manages to speak of her own experience, as well of that of the world. The chorus is like a ball and chain hitting a brick wall. This must be listened to very loud.

Grace Stumberg is a genius. She is a powerhouse of positive. Her music is proof that music is not dead nor dying. "to whom it may concern'  is full of life, talent, ambition, hard work, and a call to wake up and pay attention because life is much to short. The beauty that surrounds Grace is humbling.  She is so talented and unpretentious which makes her valuable.  Her voice, guitar and outlook on life is exactly what is needed in this chaotic world. This CD never leaves my truck. If you haven't bought it, do so, now.  "to whom it may concern" is thick with healing, cohesion, social justice, solidarity, growth, pain, love, happiness and raw, rare talent. This is what music is all about.

Grace can be heard on WBFO, Think Twice Radio, grab the CD on her website and CD baby. She is a shooting star. This young woman has the entire package and she isn't gloating about it either. That is art, music and life.  Grace, in her sweet innocence, brings us back to ourselves questioning exactly why we are all here.

©  Susan Marie 2010

 
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