This is a debut offering by music medicine woman Kimberly Haynes. The themes are a journey of discovery, healing, personal growth and devotion. The music blends new age fusion with folk and soft pop. Co-producer David Vito Gregoli collaborated with arrangements and performs on several instruments including several types of guitar, keyboards, udu, percussion, bells, Native American flute and others. The CD is packaged in a tri-fold cardboard jay-box with a lyrics insert that features crisp photographs of the singer.

Haynes sings original lyrics in English with back-up vocals. Her voice is light and pleasant. The performances are smooth and skillful. Most of the songs are based on folk, light country, or pop-style chord progressions and melodies. The songs are “fused” with eastern instruments and the wide range of percussion sounds. The songs are fairly mellow and laid-back. Haynes has a strong upper range, so the music gives an overall impression of a cross between Sarah McLaughlin (vocal styling, emotional longing and existential angst) blended with the east-west fusion mix offered by Deva Premal.

The production values are high. The vocal tracks are skillfully mixed with the instrumental tracks. The original lyrics are inspirational. A few songs are combined with Sanskrit mantras, including Track 6: The Jewel, which opens with “Om Mane Padme Hum” and then segues into a funky pop song. While the harmonic movement is generally pleasing, several of the songs circle around the same key. A few instrumental tracks or lengthier instrumental breaks would have added more variety to the album.

This is a finely-polished debut album that features lovely singing, well-crafted songs and arrangements enhanced with fine production values.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Kimberly Haynes
Wise Old Owl Records, 2016
64:13 minutes, 11 tracks.
CD $17.99, MP3 $9.49 (Amazon)