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on March 13, 2008
Lizz Wright is too be watched for a loooong time to come. This, her 3rd project, is another success. Her amazing contralto voice adds this velvet cover to every note played by the stellar musicians. Is it me or is her collaboration with Toshi Reagon (of her own musical notoriety which she was born into and then blazed her own path - the daughter of the incomparable Dr Berniece Johnson Reagon, the founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock and the late Cordell Reagon, who also lent his wonderful tenor voice to the Civil Rights Movement) the "Wright" medicine? Her cover of Ike's "Idolize You" makes me want to coerce my dad to send me his album so I can hear the two songs in succession. This was a birthday gift to myself and what a GIFT!!! Lizz is WRIGHT on!!! If you get the opportunity to see/hear her live, do so. Her persona comes through in her performance. When I last saw her, surprisingly the band was composed of all young musicians who delivered just as she, with this maturity, depth, wisdom, and love for their craft. Cant wait for her to sing these songs live as well.
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on February 29, 2008
I must admit, I had to wait to comment on Lizz Wright's considerably warm pipes. I have been disappointed with so many young artists who either forsake all originality for the quick buck or they fizzle out after the first album. I listened to her first CD, the Jazz-Pop oriented SALT, and then the ethereal DREAMING WIDE AWAKE. Now that she has released THE ORCHARD, I cannot hold my tongue any longer.

Wright is unquestionably one of the most original and sincere young artists to arrive on the music scene in the last three decades. THE ORCHARD finds Wright again produced by Craig Street who has an uncanny ability to get vocalists to dig deep into their own psyches. Wright's smokey vocals blend folk, country, soul into what sounds and smells like her (and my) native Georgia. This time out, however, Wright co-wrote 8 of the 12 tracks on this CD. Her most frequent compositional partner here is the underrated Toshi Reagon (daughter of Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, noted historian, vocalist and founder of Sweet Honey `N the Rock).

The opening track, a Wright/T. Reagon composition "Coming Home" has a gospel/anthem quality. "Leave Me Standing Alone" is a decidedly funky uptempo plea. Yet Wright does best when she shows off her considerable interpretive skills on the old Ike & Tina Turner chestnut "I Idolize You." Her reading of Patsy Cline's classic mid-tempo "Strange" is slowed down here and turned into a languid and haunting torch song.

But buyer beware. This is not Soul music; it is not Folk; it is not Jazz; it is not Blues; and it is not Country. But it contains components of all of the above. It reminds the listener of the hybrid that is Southern music, and Georgia music in particular. I can smell the Georgia pines and feel the red clay between my toes with each listen.

All of Wright's albums tend to become more impressive and more enjoyable with each listen. THE ORCHARD continues that tradition. Wright's deep and serene introspection may not appeal to all listeners. She almost requires that the listener bring something of him/herself to the table. But if you hang around awhile, you will not be disappointed.
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on February 27, 2008
Simply a powerful performance on every song. Her voice is so rich and heavy. I honestly got chills over her cover of 'I idolize you'. Her whole album has a distinct depth that draws you in and cradles you. It makes you feel something, relate to something in your life as if you wrote the song yourself. Very powerful. Very worth it.
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on June 5, 2012
I enjoyed Lizz Wright's "Salt" album, but was even more impressed with this collection of songs. As other reviewers have noted, it's virtually an impossible task trying to categorize Wright and her music. A bit of Cassandra Wilson, some hints of Tracy Chapman, a dab of Odetta, or was that a slight Nina Simone inflection I just heard? Really, she nibbles at the borders of so many genres --- jazz, soul, folk, blues --- that you CAN'T accurately label her> But that indefinable quality is one of the joys of her ... and this album. Wright strikes me a singer and artist (and yes, she writes a lot of her own material) who follows her muse and refuses to be dictated by current musical trends or the expectation of crossover success. She's making music that FEELS right (Wright?) to her, and won't compromise on many points. She has a gorgeous voice, one that's versatile enough to handle a variety of material. And yet, this album doesn't jump all over the place, but flows like a warm summer stream. I'm tempted to give this 5 stars, but as another reviewer noted, I think some of the songs could be stronger. Sometimes that "flow" needs a bit of bounce. With such an emotive voice, and the passion of a great artist, I think Lizz Wright has even more impressive albums in store for us.
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VINE VOICEon June 19, 2008
The Orchard what a fabulous CD!! I was introduced to this wonderful singer by a friend and what an introduction. I haven't stopped listening to it yet. Each track speaks to my heart and soul taking me placing I've been and have never visited. My my my where does a 28 yr old get this power, spirit and emotion from I will never understand. But I am glad she is anointed with this gift.

The Orchard is the perfect title an orchard is where you plant fruit trees, nut trees or sugar maple. Ms. Wright is certainly planting seeds for trees with this CD. Her sultry voice belting out hard notes that vibrate my soul and by the time the music hits me the sound has softened into a sweet melody caressing my body. I love this CD..oh yeah I said that already.
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Dark, velvet, hot notes that just wrap around my head and heart. "Coming Home" strikes a note inside me that no other artist has ever hit.

"My Heart" has a strong infectious beat and addictive lyrics.

"When I Fall" - another great song. It played on an episode of "Bones" on television this week.

"Leave Me Standing Alone" - another insightful song written by Wright. Masterfully done.

Music is universal; music is timeless. "Strange" was written almost 50 years ago by Mel Tillis and Fred Burch and Patsy Cline made it one of hers in the early 60's before her death. Wright's arrangement is more haunting and slowed way down. But the essence of the song is there in all its glory.

The rest of the songs on "The Orchard" hold up just as well. Wright's cover of "I Idolize You", the Ike and Tina Turner song, is a worthy rendition.

"Another Angel", "Speak Your Heart" and "Thank You" were my least favorite cuts from the album but that written, I don't skip over those when I'm listening to "The Orchard". I listen to every song, hear new nuances each and every time, and am very glad I have Wright's music to listen to on long, floating afternoons in front of the fireplace.
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on May 2, 2008
If you know anything about Lizz Wright, you know she can sing. If you dont know anything about Lizz Wright, she can sing. Yet this is not the most extraordinary thing about this CD. First off she co-wrote 8 of the 12 tracks and you can feel the feeling and emotion in every one of them. Secondly and what struck me even more was the subtle and yet incredible diversity in her music. There is a strong acoustic presence throughout but you get a little gospel(Coming Home), a little rock(Leave Me Standing Alone) a little country(Song For Mia)and a little ballad(This Is). It is really an amazing array and shows to my delight that this lady doesnt have A style but many and does them all very well.

When I first bought the CD and saw track 11(Thank You) is said it cant be. My music roots were rock and roll back in the day and I clearly remember a Zeppelin tune of the same name. I checked the writing credit and guess what-Lizz was covering a Zeppelin song. I figured this would be a bust-most people cant cover Zeppelin and dont even try. I listened to it and I believe both Page and Plant would be proud of the result.

After this CD I am convinced Lizz could sit in with the boys on an acoustic version of 'Stairway' and if Jimi were alive could do a killer duet of 'All Along The Watchtower".

Buy this CD. Ms. Wright is a very talented singer, a thoughtful and emotion songwriter and has one of the more versital sounds I have heard in awhile.
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on June 20, 2012
I had the pleasure of listening to Lizz Wright at the Women in Jazz series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in May 2012. She was phenomenal and has the potential to develop herself into quite a force in the world of jazz, should she decide to move in that direction.

Lizz is great on this recording but DO NOT get the LPs out of the UK; it is abysmal. At moderately high volumes the sound distorts. I'm using a very high-end analog system and this only happens when I have well worn/played records that are 40 or more years old. If I had known this before I bought the LPs I would have gotten the CD version, which is what I recommend to anyone with a great analog setup. Great album so I do recommend its purchase.
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on January 11, 2012
I had never heard of Liz Wright before stumbling upon her on Amazon.com. I found her voice to be rich and inviting, soothing easy listening. In fact, after listening to both CDs, I want to listen to all the others. I am enchanted by the music! She took a few old favorites and made them sound completely different, enchanting, soothing, calming. I love her style of singing.
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on April 3, 2008
This woman has put out 3 of the best CDs that have been made so far this decade. The Orchard is just brilliant, although, it doesn't compare to Salt (will anything ever?) Lizz' smooth and soothing vocals caress you like a warm comfy blanket on a cold winter's evening. Like my other favorite vocalist, Cassandra Wilson, Lizz could sing the dictionary or the telephone book, record it, and I'd buy it. The music is lovely, the lyrics are smart, the lady is gorgeous - what more could you ask for? My favorite cuts are I Idolize You, Another Angel, When I Fall, Leave Me Standing Alone, and Strange. Can't wait to see what Lizz does next!!
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