Album review written by Brenda Lorenz c/o Beat Atlanta Online Magazine
“Stronger Now”, the recently released album by Atlanta’s own smooth jazz composer/artist, Carol Albert, will take your soul on a hypnotic voyage; to a place where butterflies elevate after transformation. Her ability to express emotion through her music is nothing short of astounding! It lifts you up and gives you hope. Hope that, even after unimaginable devastating loss and heartbreak, you can survive. Just listen to “Stronger Now” and you’ll understand.
“Stronger Now” begins with this title track. With a gentleness in it’s melody yet a boldness that shows you light, the imagination takes you to where there is a warm beam of sunlight gently caressing your face, lifting you up to see that, as hard as it may be to understand after everything that has happened, the sun is out.
“Sun’s Out”, the seventh track on this CD, was released as a single in July of last year and by October, it had soared to the top of the smooth jazz charts! “Love Again” seems to bring to mind an idea; a way to heal. There is a haunting elegance in this song that stirs the soul. She has used her healing and has sculpted it into something magnificent as she experienced moments that formed her life story.
Moments - they are fluid; they change, become something different from what they were originally in such a way that it transforms you. One moment in time can change everything. “For the Moment” seems to be a reconciliation between thoughts and emotions allowing you to begin restoring your faith. In this track, Carol’s brilliant piano and keys, combined with a soulful guitar brings all this to an awareness that by taking events and life moment by moment, healing can occur and you can breathe again. The melody in this makes this one of my favorites on the CD.
Another song that was originally released as a single in December 2018, “Femme Flight”, became the number two most added track on the smooth jazz billboard in its first week out! This energetic combination of piano, flute, sax and bass awakens your senses! The flute makes me think that if butterfly wings made a sound it would sound like this – colorful, happy! A jazzy saxophone adds to the life of this song and to the “words” you don’t hear – but you hear them loud and clear!
A brief departure to where it began, “Winter Rain” is an undeniable cadence reminiscent of how fluid these moments can be. This moment is a more subdued one; a hauntingly saturating rain that seems to appear without notice. The brilliance, beauty and sheer honesty in this compilation invites the listener into her world as the storm raged. However, the rain does not last forever. Her resilience is clear as the next track is her chart-topping hit, “Sun’s Out”! This soulfully poetic exotic vision of light again lifts you up to feel the sun on your face.
Her divine vocals take you on a mystical journey in “I Am Fine”. Offering this reassurance as she imagines her husband smiling, knowing that she is stronger now. That’s what he’d want her to do – to feel happy again. She allows us to experience a deeper appreciation for the connection she shares with the one that will always be with her – not only vocally, but in the depth of her piano that is pure elegance.
“Moon on the Water” continues that pure elegance on a level that evokes the imagination to reach for the life that’s out there. You can see the story in this music. You can feel every key, every note as you are mesmerized by her piano! The light, delicate expressions that enhance the more powerful segments will take you to another world; a place where peace and resilience reside. To close out the CD, “Till We Meet Again” leaves you with a deep feeling of hope, of confidence, and momentum. Momentum that allows you to be stronger now.
I saved “Perfect Sunday” for last for a reason. This Sunday, February 9, 2020 will be a “Perfect Sunday” for Carol as she performs at Venkman's in Atlanta. What better place could there be for the celebration of the release of “Stronger Now”, than in her home town! Tickets are available on her website link below.
This CD will allow you to feel her loss, her strength, her healing, and her determination to soar to new heights! It explains that by reaching into places you didn’t know existed, you can find strength you didn’t know you had.