Tess Henley - Easy To Love (2009)

Tess Henley
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Eight songs. That's the total number of tracks on Tess Henley's new CD Easy to Love. For those who are used to CDs chocked full of 16 and 17 songs, a record with eight songs on it might feel like quite a shock to the system. Some folks might even walk away feeling like they got cheated - despite the fact that they regularly skip over half the songs on those 16 track CDs they buy at one of the big box stores. Look at it this way, you're listening to eight songs either way, and the chances are much better that you'll like all eight of the tracks on Easy to Love.

Beyond its brevity, there is a lot to like about Easy to Love. As a vocalist, Henley is the real thing. Listeners will note that Henley is a vocalist who also plays the piano, which will bring the inevitable comparisons to Alicia Keys.  That's fine. Henley as a vocalist doesn't suffer from being compared to Keys.

Eight songs. That's the total number of tracks on Tess Henley's new CD Easy to Love. For those who are used to CDs chocked full of 16 and 17 songs, a record with eight songs on it might feel like quite a shock to the system. Some folks might even walk away feeling like they got cheated - despite the fact that they regularly skip over half the songs on those 16 track CDs they buy at one of the big box stores. Look at it this way, you're listening to eight songs either way, and the chances are much better that you'll like all eight of the tracks on Easy to Love.

Beyond its brevity, there is a lot to like about Easy to Love. As a vocalist, Henley is the real thing. Listeners will note that Henley is a vocalist who also plays the piano, which will bring the inevitable comparisons to Alicia Keys.  That's fine. Henley as a vocalist doesn't suffer from being compared to Keys. Both women eschew the breathy little girl sound that is the rage these days. Henley, like Keys, opens her mouth and gives a full-throated vocal that sounds mature, passionate and believable.

Henley's music deals with matters of the heart: relationships. However, as the song "Pompi's Song" shows, the relationship doesn't have to be romantic. "Pompi's Song," is a ballad that expresses the sorrow that Henley feels about the loss of a person who served as a mentor and inspiration.

When Henley does sing about relationships, the topic that she deals with goes far beyond the bedroom. The mid-tempo "Complicated" deals with the conflicting feelings the singer experiences as the lines between being friends and more than friends begin to blur. "Disguise" tells the story of an indifferent lover who strings the singer along by pretending that he's really into her when he is not.  "Fool With You" is a song that shows how love sometimes makes people act a little crazy.

Henley covers a lot of ground on Easy to Love's eight tracks. She manages to explore relationships in all of their joy, pain and complexity. Topically, Henley goes where her heart leads her, and her vocals and her lyrics will have a lot of listeners wanting to follow. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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