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Sophie B. Hawkins
The Crossing
EMI Records
www.sophiebhawkins.com


A fusion of gospel rock, atmospheric folk, and bluesy pop, The Crossing from singer-songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins shows what makes her a contemporary of artists like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Achieving popularity as a folk artist in the 1990s, Sophie B. Hawkins continues to maintain her folk roots while expanding her repertoire using elements of rock guitars, horn arrangements, and orchestral strings scattered throughout the album.

The gospel rock ethers of "Betcha Got A Cure For Me" and "Sinner Man" are embellished in rock guitars and twinkling strings. The shimmied beats accenting "Georgia" are reminiscent of The Rolling Stones seared in Hawkins' breathy vocals. Her voicing switches to balladry swags in "Missing," hemmed in silky horns and brushed acoustic chords. The strolling tempos of "Life Is A River" and "I Don't Need You" have a breezy folk momentum which moves into a pensive setting in "Miles Away" contoured in drizzling keys as Hawkins calls out, "Father, I'm slipping again… And if I fly, let me take you along / And If I fall, let me fall into your arms… Tonight, the sea is black and calm / And you are / Miles away."

"Gone Baby," co-written by Mary Steenburgen, has a spiritual texture which switches to a nocturnal jazz tint in "Dream Street And Chance," threaded in bluesy tinged ripples. "Red Bird" and "As I Lay Me Down" have orchestral folk vapors induced by wavy keys and arching strings which circle Hawkins' vocals. "Betcha Got A Cure For Me" is reprised at the ending of the album sealing Hawkins as a gospel rock artist.

The Crossing is based in folk music embellished by derivatives of pop, rock and jazz. The culmination of these four branches of music is agreeable, making spirituals like "Sinner Man" and "The Land, The Sea, And The Sky" into songs palatable for the general masses.

-Susan Frances

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