Gina Breedlove - Open Heart (2011)

Gina Breedlove

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Gina Breedlove is best known for playing the lioness Sarabi in the stage musical version of Disney's "The Lion King." That theatrical background serves her well on Open Heart, an acoustic album that is essentially soul, but also has heavy blues, folk and gospel leanings. Each genre rewards vocalists who sing with expressiveness, clarity, passion and honesty and that certainly fits Breedlove. Open Heart also sports strong lyrical content, which is a necessity for an album of this sort. That is a likely another lesson that Breedlove learned during a foray on Broadway.

Gina Breedlove is best known for playing the lioness Sarabi in the stage musical version of Disney's "The Lion King." That theatrical background serves her well on Open Heart, an acoustic album that is essentially soul, but also has heavy blues, folk and gospel leanings. Each genre rewards vocalists who sing with expressiveness, clarity, passion and honesty and that certainly fits Breedlove. Open Heart also sports strong lyrical content, which is a necessity for an album of this sort. That is a likely another lesson that Breedlove learned during a foray on Broadway.

Breedlove moves easily between genres on Open Heart. "Karma" is a mid-tempo soulful celebration of the free feeling that comes with the realization that fate has delivered your soul mate.  Breedlove opts for a slow, sensual groove on the song "Conjure," a track that is filled with lyrics that celebrate the almost mystical way in which the vocalist gives herself over to her lover. She is willing to accept love in whatever form it comes, and that comes through in the song's opening lyrics: "My magic is simple/I keep my arms open/and that is what led you to me."

Open Heart is a record that will make a woman feel good about being a woman because it celebrates womanhood in all of its manifestations. In an era where the nearly all depictions of womanhood seem to be viewed through the lens of the so called ‘hot girl' who is trying to appear pleasing and non-threatening to men, many listeners will embrace Open Heart as a welcome counter point.

Notable tracks: Water, Morning Glory, Karma, Wind, Conjure

Vocals: 3.0
Lyrics: 3.0
Music: 3.0
Production: 3.0
Soultracks call: Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
Choice Cut - Maysa - "Lovin' You Is Easy"

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