My Heart Returns To Me was released november 2021
Review of the album from Indie Spoonful 4/19/2023:
Sherie Davis - 'My Heart Returns To Me'
Review by Tempestas Ink
Bob Dylan once said of folk music, “I felt right at home in this mythical realm made up not with individuals so much as archetypes, vividly drawn archetypes of humanity, metaphysical in shape, each rugged soul filled with natural knowing and inner wisdom…It was life magnified.”
The accuracy of this statement has indeed encouraged many to push themselves creatively, and the genre itself, in order to reach the singularity at the heart of that mythical realm. And the genre keeps evolving, while retaining that all-important connect with the listener.
And with her very first album ‘My Heart Returns To Me’, Sherie Davis has conjured up a gem of an aural feast in the realms of folk-rock and Americana that shows us subtle glimpses of the afore-mentioned singularity.
At the time of writing this review, the album – primarily folk-rock and Americana – has already gained a top #13 on the FAI folk charts for the month of January 2023. The sheer versatility and superlative creativity, while simultaneously infusing it with a rustic positivity has had an overall profound effect, as evidenced in its various tracks.
With its title track, ‘My Heart Returns To Me’ immediately hits it off with a typically apt anthemic opening folk-rock number in the key of D, and Davis immediately leaves an indelible mark with her phenomenally impressive contralto vocals, with her topline range stretching from as low as D3 to D5. The D3’s in particular are all rendered with such ease and accuracy that only the few, and very gifted, can. The equally impressive arrangement and lyrical themes and solos (from the mandolin and the violin) do full justice to the sentiments of flight and freedom, which are major recurring themes of the album.
‘Candle’, part protest-hymn and part folk ballad, delves into the pop-rock realm in the key of A major, and is an ode to hope in testing times (‘My candle flickers in the moonlight, Seems like love might survive the night’), one that Bonnie Raitt would be proud of. Davis’s renditions on the flute are enchanting to the core, and provide a mystical touch of humility to the proceedings, with the choral harmonies and multi-tonal aaah’s being effortlessly rendered with a touch of R&B that isn’t out of place.
‘Let’s Love One Another’ is yet another upbeat pop-rock number infused with a touch of country in the key of C major, and again Davis surpasses her vocal range with her notes impeccably hitting the C3’s! The song is themed upon unity amidst diversity, which is just as well expressed in the line ‘Too many of us don’t see eye to eye…I watch astrologers online, they say ‘Stay grounded’…..’ One can detect that touch of the Indigo Girls in this number. And the mandolin solos inject an element of profound joy and simplicity that is one of the hallmarks of the album in general.
‘Life Goes On’ on the other hand, is a slower, experimental, and more introspective take on the realms of life and death and beyond. A slow, yet pleasant acoustic-pop number, it incorporates natural sounds, and features a sampled speech, as part of its arrangement. What also stands out is the chordal structure which is deliciously unorthodox, to the point of virtuosic. The ease at which the keys vary from verse to chorus to bridge with meaningful coherence stands out in this number which is probably the most creative number of the album, based on one’s perspective.
‘Love Is Here’ is a soulful folk ballad that centers around the theme of love amidst harsh realities. The track is purely acoustic, with a touch of the spiritual that is evident in the instrumentation. The flute once again provides a sense of uplift, while the creative arrangement emphasizes the cosmic by keeping the low-end frequencies in check. The result is an excellent example of how instrumentation can heighten a song's emotional impact.
Returning to a midtempo country-rock sound, ‘Simple Life’ is a reflective tribute to the joys of solitude. The lyrics are crafted with a youthful zing and aptly convey the song's contemplative tone. The harmonies are expertly rendered, with Davis's vocals reaching the higher end of her range (as high as E5) in the outro.
Overall, Sherie Davis's debut album is a substantial work of uplifting and introspective compositions that explore life's deepest questions. The dynamic range and socially conscious lyrics that complement the genre make this album a runaway winner.
Review of Bottom Line from Indie Spoonful 4/1/2023:
Sherie Davis - 'Bottom Line'
Review by Tempestas Ink
Normally, when people talk of near-death experiences, the listener tends to usually soak in every word with rapt attention; there is always a note of solemnity injected to the proceedings – the prospect of the unknown and crossing over to the other side is something mankind has forever invested his thoughts and soul into. Now then, what if one puts the above into song, a light folk-rock song no less? Would the aura be retained? Well, Sherie’s ‘Bottom Line’ manages to do just that, apart from making it sound gallopingly catchy and easy-going.
The hook performed over the mandolin (courtesy Mark Alciati) right at the beginning of the guitar-driven number is enough to arrest the listener’s attention and keep him engaged throughout. And then, there are the lyrics themselves. Written about an encounter with a man who had a near-death experience (“Fatal crash after seventeen, Brought back to life after that”) and the chorus quoted and written from his perspective, the lyrics are well written so as to cite a deeply solemn experience without making it sound overtly preachy. And that makes it a surefire winner to the hilt. And the musicality and chordations are the reason why.
Alternating between D major (for the storytelling parts in the verse) to D minor (for the thought-provoking parts in the chorus) works really, really well to maintain proper balance throughout the song without letting the listener’s attention dwindle. And Sherie’s vocals hits the bull’s eye in that it amalgamates the storytelling with the solemn parts with her impressive range, dynamics, and expression. One needs to listen to the line, “We’re all gonna cross over to the side..” to understand and connect with the words, without once getting the feeling of being talked down to.
The subdued and easy-going mids of the verse, and the high of the chorus, with the backing vocals emphasizing the lyrics at all the right spots, not to mention the anthemic lift right at the end, make it one song the listener might want to go back to, and listen again. Very few songs have that quality of bringing back the listener again and again, and yet making him feel as though he has discovered something new with each iteration. ‘Bottom Line’ has got that capability.
On the whole, ‘Bottom Line’ is delightfully inspiring and thought-provoking, and an excellent way to invest four minutes and eight seconds of your life-span towards. And take another four to enjoy the warmth of those guitars provided in tandem with Sherie’s lush and uplifting vocals.