Lori Dow - Love Changes (2008)

Lori Dow
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Love Changes, Lori Dow's latest record, is a testament to the virtue of patience. I could say that Love Changes grew on me. However, saying something "grew on you" implies that the record is not very good, and that I listened to the record so long that I convinced myself that Love Changes is better than it actually is. That is not the case. This is a solid but understated recording, and you have to listen in order to fully appreciate the album's many virtues. Dow faces the same challenges that indie artists must confront - mainly how to be heard in a market that often rewards loudness and style over substance. Dow confronts the challenge by releasing a record that features a distinctive voice, strong song writing and well thought out arrangements.

Love Changes, Lori Dow's latest record, is a testament to the virtue of patience. I could say that Love Changes grew on me. However, saying something "grew on you" implies that the record is not very good, and that I listened to the record so long that I convinced myself that Love Changes is better than it actually is. That is not the case. This is a solid but understated recording, and you have to listen in order to fully appreciate the album's many virtues. Dow faces the same challenges that indie artists must confront - mainly how to be heard in a market that often rewards loudness and style over substance. Dow confronts the challenge by releasing a record that features a distinctive voice, strong song writing and well thought out arrangements.

"Love No Limit" and "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)," the two covers featured on Love Changes, illustrate how an artist can make a well-known and well-loved song his or her own with a creative arrangement. This is done subtly on the Mary J. Blige classic "Love No Limit." Dow transforms the song not so much by changing the melody, but by playing a saxophone riff off the recognizable beat put down by the rhythm section. This call and response between the sax and the rhythm section changes "Love No Limit" from a hip-hop/soul fusion to a song that fuses soul and jazz. Dow brings in spoken word arts Omekongo to change "He Loves Me" into a duet. That's likely something that Jill Scott, who is a very talented poet, could appreciate. "He Loves Me" already had a strong jazz influence, so the version of the song featured on Love Changes sports a Latin tinged melody.

Both songs likely prompt listeners to take notice - mainly to see if Dow is up to mining material from the songbooks to two of the most respected women in R&B. She is. Listeners might go to "Love No Limit" and "He Loves Me" first, but the album on the whole is one that should not be slept on. Love Changes is a solid effort that features a balance of bluesy slow jams, up-tempo dance numbers and head nodding mid-tempo tunes. Some highlights in each category include "Until I Found You," "Love Again" and "Can't Nobody."

Love Changes is a substance over style record. Dow doesn't break any new ground. What she does is make a record that affirms what people like about soul music: a strong and distinctive voice, solid songwriting and melodies that keep heads nodding and feet tapping. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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