NowSTREAMING: Debbie Hennessey / Daniel Ouellette and the Shobijin / Motorhead

Debbie Hennessey – No Longer Broken

When an artist’s voice can speak to you with its tone, pitch and power – not just with the lyrics sung – you know you’re in for something special. Soulful might only be a word, but it may just say it all when it comes to standout singer/songwriter Debbie Hennessey.

From its first song, No Longer Broken, is an album that effortlessly blends genres and connects the universal experiences of love lost (“Every Song is You”), found (“No Longer Broken”), damaged (“Let Me Go”) and … massaged with liquor (“Whiskey Charm”). Heartache aside, No Longer Broken is something to celebrate as a polished piece of work from an indie artist that deserves praise for being eclectic, yet electric for fans of all types of music. This album is a little bit country with a dash of rock ’n’ roll, a few bursts of pop and some rich rhythm and blues that collides with deep soul.

Hennessey’s voice is husky (in the best possible way) and offers hints of Stevie Nicks spun with the effervescence of a Faith Hill. On this, her third full-length album, Hennessey’s growth and range as an artist is evident, having co-written eight of the nine songs (six with her guitarist, Jeffrey Marshall), including the titular standout “No Longer Broken.” Hennessy is an accomplished indie act worth checking out; the production values and her voice – that voice! – will blow you away. It’s truly stellar from start to finish.

No Longer Broken
is available for download on iTunes or visit debbiehennessey.com.

By Mike Wood

Daniel OuelletteDaniel Ouellette and the Shobijin – Zizal!

Bizarre. Weird. Odd. These are the first words that come to mind when I listen to this album. In fact, it took me some time to acclimate to what I was listening to, and after having heard it, I am still not sure what that was.

I find this to be the most challenging review I have ever written because there really isn’t anything to which I can compare this CD. To put it in perspective: Imagine David Bowie as The Labyrinth’s Goblin King on the biggest acid trip that anyone has ever had in the existence of time, playing a combination of African-style percussion and 1980’s synthesizer with garden gnomes dancing outside naked in a field of butterflies and fluffy orange Dr. Seuss Lorax trees. Of course, you might experience something completely different.

I think the song that struck me most was “The Dilemma of Deveraux.” Though this style of music is offbeat, it does showcase talent. Something about this CD is so intriguing, you can’t help but pay attention. It sparks curiosity. It is clearly well thought out and complex. It brings in many different sound sources and has a plethora of subject matter buried within its eccentricity. If you are looking for something that skews and challenges the norm, look no further.

To learn more, visit danielouellette.net.

By Jennifer Russo

MotorheadMotorhead – Bad Magic

In their 40th year, Motorhead has no real business rocking as hard and heavy as it does on Bad Magic – the band’s 22nd studio album. Most other bands would likely lighten up, take a step back and coast along the shores of the Elder Statesmen Beach. But Lemmy Kilmister and co. apparently missed that memo and instead burn and rip like young guns on Bad Magic.

“I always wanted the dangerous life,” Lemmy sings on “Thunder & Lightning,” a breakneck -speed number that has an “Ace of Spades” feel to it. And when you listen to Bad Magic, it becomes obvious that Lemmy is still craving that life. From the moment you click play, Motorhead come blasting out of your speakers with the supercharged attack you expect. “Victory or Die” and “Shoot Out All Of Your Lights” bristle with the trademark jolt of electricity, while “Teach Them How To Bleed” is a manic expedition that strides along the edge of combustion. A solid take on the Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil” is the topper, with Lemmy, full of gleeful menace, delivering the classic song’s lines.

But the strongest effort isn’t any of the bombastic fireworks; rather, it’s the album’s lone ballad, “Till The End.”  In it, Lemmy opens up, singing, “There ain’t no rules to follow/You can’t predict tomorrow” over a big hook, drawing back the curtains of aggression and revealing the delicate nature of what we all face. And that’s the best part of Bad Magic – the moments of self-aware mortality slipped in between super-charged rebellion.

For more, visit imotorhead.com.

By Jason Savio