Carol Albert uses music to heal on “Fly Away Butterfly” - By Dodie Miller-Gould
Carol Albert is a vocalist, keyboardist and composer. Her new album, “Fly Away Butterfly” represents Albert’s attempt to resume her music career after tragedy.
An introduction to “Fly Away Butterfly”
Albert’s work on “Fly Away Butterfly” took place after the death of her husband in 2014. The symbolism of the butterfly is clear–change. Having already taken some time off from recording prior to 2014, the tragic loss she suffered served both as a reason to perform, and a means to work through grief.
The CD itself is visually stunning. I realize that is not why people buy music, however, it is worth a look. Deep blue saturates or highlights images of Albert’s face, a large butterfly, also in shades of blue, covers the lower half of her face. On the inside, that same butterfly is poised atop an old-fashioned microphone, and Albert stands behind. She is holding a blue satin sheet that matches the color scheme found elsewhere. The color blue and its representation of sadness, and association with jazz is meaningful here.
The songs found on “Fly Away Butterfly” have a contemporary pop feel to them. Most notable among them are the title track, and “On My Way.” Given Albert’s reason for performing, the content of those songs gain meaning.
“Fly Away Butterfly”
The song opens with a flute’s trill that imitates the flutter of butterfly wings. Albert whispers the title in Spanish. The lyrics center on the title phrase.
Light sounds fill the track. In fact, light sounds fill the album. Albert is not a belter–at least not on this release, and that works here. This song reminds me of a subgenre called “new age jazz.” The purpose is to help listeners relax. As Albert sings, listeners thoughts are colored by the cool blue of the CD cover, and the disc itself.
The music is rich with flute, and it never goes heavy or brassy. Delicate sounds enrich the song’s purpose, and makes the listening that much more enjoyable.
“On My Way”
Heavier than the title track, pop jazz vocals singing syllables dance over the groovy piano. The horns add texture and verve. The backing vocals are a mix of r&b and pop. Albert’s voice is almost too soft here, she is barely heard over the backup singers at times. When the voices take turns singing, Albert is heard more clearly. Her style reminds listeners of pop jazz singers from the 1980s and 1990s–think Everything But the Girl and Swing Out Sister.
As far as the lyrical content goes, Albert is triumphant. She sings about spreading her wings and being on “on my way.” And the sassy saxophone line that fills the end punctuates the words, and listeners believe that Albert will do what she says.
“Fly Away Butterfly” is a light, jazzy exploration of human emotions. Albert makes her private pain public. However, the songs’ form and content allow listeners to ascribe their own meaning to them.
The album is worth a look and a listen. “Fly Away Butterfly” is available Sept. 1, 2017.