Dancing on the Moon Reviews
Talented singer/songwriter Lisa Bell releases another outstanding CD, “Dancing on the Moon,” that is overflowing with a superb blend of Blues, Jazz, and Pop music. Bell takes these genres and creates an album that is sheer entertainment. The opener/title track, ““Dancing on the Moon,” grabs you right from the start as Bell’s vocals are rich and soulful while the rhythm flows with an expressive groove. The song, “Change is Free,” has a Bluesy tonality as Bell sings this catchy melody with refreshing flair. “Stand Up,” is a song that moves with a bouncy beat as Bells excellent vocals are complemented by the dynamically balanced instruments. This album offers a hypnotic fusion of finely crafted songs that is well produced. If you like wonderful Blues, Jazz, and Pop music all wrapped up into one CD, then you will really enjoy the excellent album, “Dancing on the Moon.”
-Diane and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Feminist Review-“Dancing on the Moon”
Lisa Bell delivers the goods on her third album, mixing blues, jazz, pop, and roots into a bright, sparkling mix. Her voice can be both polished and loose, and shimmering washes of percussion, chimes, and layered instrumentation provide a worthy backdrop to her lyrics.
“Change Is Free,” the story of an unemployed woman facing daunting economic prospects, is the disc’s standout track, with a funky vibe, heavy beat, and touches of organ. Rather than embracing despair, she opts for change. “I can wait for the shining knight to save the day / I can pray that an angel comes my way… but change is up to me.” An accordion gives “After All” a mellow, European feel. It’s a song of struggle and redemption, accepting responsibility for past mistakes but moving on. Bell’s vocal perfectly suits the languorous tone of the hip-swaying bossa nova beat on “Misty Roses,” another highlight.
Bell gets loose with “Stand Up,” a quirky, danceable tune with prominent drums, organ, and electric guitar creating blasts of sound, and there is a comic element to “How Long,” in which a woman deals with insomnia and delayed flights while waiting to be reunited with her lover. Bell’s voice is full of yearning on “The Last Time,” in which an old love is renounced, with piano adding depth to this ballad.
The varied material on the disc provides plenty of opportunities for Bell to show off her versatile voice, which conveys longing, acceptance, hopefulness, anticipation, and joy in turn. With superb guitar and percussion throughout, it’s clear she is interested in each song not just as a showcase for herself but as a means of communication between artist and listener. Mostly, you get the sense that Bell loves what she’s doing and wants to share the beauty and excitement of these songs with you. Dancing On The Moon is an enjoyable outing of both smooth and improvisational songs, with an upbeat feel, and the blend of styles makes it perfect for the musically adventurous.
Review by Karen Duda
Indie Music Digest- “12 Solid Tracks”
Boulder Colorado’s own Lisa Bell releases “Dancing on the Moon” in 2010 which features 12 new songs, 9 featuring electric guitarist Bob Story & acoustic guitarist Mark Oblinger (Firefall) who also just so happened to produce the album & even wrote the title track.
The CD kicks things off with the title track “Dancing on the Moon” a sultry intro piece that serves up steady beat, melodic jazz guitar, & smooth vocals from Bell. Track 2 “No Time” is an impressive groove that dishes out soothing melody, well placed percussive accents against more honey coated vocals from Bell making for an impressive ballad. Track 3 “Change is Free” shifts gears a bit with a steady low end groove that showcases a slamming rhythm section, impressive Hammond Organ chops, & well placed harmonies & vocal from Bell. I especially like her sassiness on this piece. The music itself has a soothing jazz-pop-rock vibe reminiscent of classic acts Nora Jones, Miami Sound Machine, Barbra Streisand, Eva Cassidy & maybe a dash of Natalie Cole. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Bell’s band are quite accomplished. Kudos goes out to the impressive guitar work from both Bob Story & Mark Oblinger. The rhythm section (bass & drums) push the natural accents well. Last but not least Bell makes the whole thing work.
What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. As for her vocal abilities, Bell’s voice works well within the confines of Jazz-rock. Her voice goes down smooth & fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively. Along the way you will notice some of her vocal influences – Gloria Estefan, Barbra Streisand, & Ella Fitzgerald. By track 3 the CD hits sold stride delivering 5 solid tracks back to back including my personal favorites “After All” & “Stand up” All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board.
This CD from Bell delivers 12 solid tracks all providing thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting & positive. The music of Lisa Bell has everything you would expect from a professional jazz-pop-rock production. From upbeat “Move on” & How Long” to soothing “Better Days” to tranquil “Misty Roses” to grooving “Stand up” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. There’s even an impressive James Taylor cover” Fire & Rain” that mixes thing up well. From start to finish – It’s a rock solid CD. The CD ends with Track 12 “Carry On” providing rich conventional wisdom that simply cannot be faked no matter how hard you try.
It’s hard to find any weaknesses with this CD. But if could say anything to Lisa Bell right now it would be take a few more vocal risks on some of your songs, & really push that emotional envelope in a way that is 100% un-choreographed. If you can do this you will no doubt capture lightning in a bottle & deliver some truly magical vocal performances. Turn to this instead of just another predictable vibrato, especially during the finale. Genuine emotion is a very powerful thing & at the end of the day can never be controlled – even in the confines of a recording studio. So turn up the heat & give us something we will never forget. This is truly what separates legends from other professionals. Some songs lack serious emotional delivery, & seem a bit conservative. It’s fair to say some songs are a bit dated & predictable sounding.
After spending 45+ minutes alone with Lisa Bell & company I simply abandoned any hopes of finding any serious weakness. Instead as the CD progressed I became more and more impressed. “Dancing on the Moon” is a top notch musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalogue. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Lastly – the playing, writing, and singing abilities of Lisa Bell& her band are impressive. My hats off guitarist Mark Oblinger (Firefall) who is no stranger to the music business – for his guitar virtuoso & producers touch.
Everything about Lisa Bell screams talent & professionalism. I guess could go on and on all night about Lisa Bell you simply have got to get your hands on some of his music and see what I am talking about. You should start with “Dancing on the Moon.”
Wildy’s World, June 10, 2010
Boulder, Colorado’s Lisa Bell returns in 2010 with her third album, Dancing On The Moon, a compositional blend of folk, roots music, rock, blues, jazz and soul that’s certain to offer a little morsel for most anyone. Recorded in A-424 rather than the standard A-440 tuning, Dancing On The Moon finds Bell seeking most natural elements with a sound that’s designed to be both uplifting and healing. Along the way, Bell has recorded with Nelson Rangell, Gabriel Mark Hasselbach and Bill Payne (Little Feat), and has shared a stage with Stanley Jordan, Hazel Miller and Christopher Cross.
Bell opens with the title track. “Dancing On The Moon” is a soulful bit of 1970’s easy listening R&B with blues roots. Bell has a beautifully smooth voice that sounds like it should have been on the radio in the 1970s. “Change Is Free” is a bluesy, soulful tune about self-reliance. Bell injects this danceable tune with the mildest of grit in the vocal line, but it works like a charm. Bell sounds a bit like Carole King on “Move On”; you could imagine King and James Taylor knocking this one out on their recent reunion tour without any difficulty. The song is eminently tuneful, the sort you’ll find yourself humming along to the first time you hear it.
“Stand Up” is an inspiring tune, a call to action to take a part in the world around you. Bell mixes rock, soul and the blues here in a tune that will make you want to get up and dance. Taking a sudden turn toward New Orleans, Bell delivers the Zydeco/Country mix of “How Long”, a song about getting through a night without the one you love. The song is cute and sweet, full of longing but with a bit of camp as well. Bell offers up an interesting slow salsa interpretation of James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain”. The song is musically appealing, although Bell’s version is much darker than the original. “The Last Time” explores the ease with which old feelings can resurface, and the power they can hold over us even years later. It’s a romantic tune apropos for class reunions and other such flashpoints for romantic memories. Dancing On The Moon closes with “Carry On”, a song about finding the right person at the wrong time. Bell fits nicely into the 1970’s easy listening demographic with this tune, although the ghosts of a country tune haunt this song.
Lisa Bell has a gorgeous voice; supple and warm and full of emotion. She performs each song on Dancing On The Moon with her heart firmly in front. The songs on Dancing On The Moon are strong singer-songwriter material with health dollops of the blues, soul and R&B sewn into the seams by Bell’s voice. If the album is a bit consistent in sound, Bell takes the occasional step outside the box to remind you that dynamic doesn’t always have to mean loud. Dancing On The Moon is both dynamic and graceful; a difficult feat in modern music.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Music Emissions, June 8, 2010
by Kevin Sellers
What would be more of a challenge in today’s musical landscape: making an album that goes platinum, or making an album that clearly defines the goals and aspirations of the musicians involved? Of course it’s possible to do both, but it happens very, very rarely. I won’t go out on a limb and claim the charming Lisa Bell’s latest offering, Dancing On The Moon is that sort of album, but it definitely seems to satisfy both the potential to sell a bunch of copies while simultaneously illustrating in sheer brilliance the musical spirit of Bell and her associates.
The music here bends across several genres. Bell is known for a past that focused on strict jazz standards and according to her website, only recently has she begun to branch out into more pop, soft rock and rootsy soundscapes. All across Dancing On The Moon, this is evident, as her breezy, silky-smooth voice and to-the-point, classic pop-esque lyrics blanket the warm grooves and expressive guitar flourishes of her band. This is very much a defined “Adult Rock” album, insomuch as it deals with mature lyrical subject matter and, on the risk-taking scale, it ranks as low as it should considering the styles prevalent. From song to song, there is something to enjoy, from bluesy ballads to more upbeat rockers and the intermingling of each throughout. There are no true “stand out” tracks, but I could imagine each making a worthwhile single. It’s that sort of album, where a front-to-back listening gives the same impression as listening to one track a day would.
Wonderfully expressive and detailed, with competent musicianship, songwriting and lyrics, Dancing On The Moon is a record that, while certainly filling the description of a “niche” record that won’t necessarily win over anyone not looking for a softer, more mature musical experience, is broad enough in its influences and atmospheres to attract a wide audience. Ultimately, Lisa’s soul and spirit captivate far beyond the rest of the sound, and it is there that most will either find something to love or something to leave alone.
Brad Weismann Blog, May 30, 2010
By Brad Weismann
Brad Weismann Blog Spot
Most popular music likes to get your attention with a punch in the face. In today’s exploded, panic-strewn soundscape, what fills auditoriums and sells downloads are variations and repackagings of the same-old, same-old – alienation, misanthropy, the drive for power, lust denied and satisfied. Turned up really loud. Ah, youth.
In this atmosphere, it takes guts and wisdom to follow your own inclinations. Boulder-born Lisa Bell began her solo career as an interpreter of the Great American Songbook. In that capacity, her liquid voice and magnetic personality were top-notch.
But she wanted more. She began to write her own songs, and blur genre as well, trying unique arrangements and instrumentation to get the songs across. The results are there in her last two albums – 2005’s “It’s All About Love” and her current release, “Dancing on the Moon.”
These beautifully written and performed gems are not punches, but embraces – lyrical summonses to her thoughts on life, faith, love and hope. She’s not afraid to plumb complex emotional depths, and she brings a warm and shining burnish to her artfully conceived compositions.
“Dancing on the Moon” has a smooth, solid pop feel. Bell’s voice is more adept than ever at conveying meaning with grace and balance. Her lyrics deal with issues without preaching or self-pity, moving nimbly along as in “Change Is Free”:
“Can’t pay the mortgage and the bills are due/I just keep waiting for the other shoe/And I know, this too shall pass”
She’s aided in her efforts on this outing by co-writers Mark Oblinger and Bob Story, and Oblinger’s arrangements are pitch-perfect.
(Speaking of pitch, much is made of tunings in this work, from the arbitrary 440-cycles-per-second measure to the more “natural” 424. I have heard this alternate tuning before, in a concert involving Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello – and indeed it does appear do deliver a deeper, more grounded sound. Go to www.lisabellmusic.com for a very cogent explanation of this approach, along with surprising and illuminative sound bites that show the difference.)
I can’t commend her musical collaborators enough, either: Oblinger, Story, percussionist Christian Teele, bassist Chris Engleman, keyboardist Eric Moon, singers Robert Johnson and Linda Lawson, and Steve Conn with the loveliest accordion fills on two cuts.
For me, the proof of the pudding is not in the tuning but in the listening. This album should bear the sticker “For mature listeners only” – not because of objectionable content, but because it’s heady stuff from a grown-up artist who’s not afraid to confront herself in her work, to grow and change, to be vulnerable and share the wisdom she’s accumulated along the way.
“Dancing on the Moon” gives pleasure, and rewards thoughtful fans, all at once.
Rockwired, May 10, 2010
By Brian Lush
Albums that boast an eclectic mix of music are nothing new to me but in the case of LISA BELL’s latest release ‘DANCING ON THE MOON’, I must say that the Colorado-based singer-songwriter gives eclecticism a whole new meaning. Her glorious sound is hard to put a finger on. Is it jazz? Adult-Contemporary? Roots music with jazz chords? After one meditative listen, a word like “genre” goes out the window and you find yourself getting lost in the lush, plush soundscape brought to you by an A424 tuning that the music of ‘DANCING ON THE MOON’ is set to. The title track is built around a playful jazzy bounce as refreshing as a glass of chardonnay at a pool party on a breezy summer night. BELL’s rich voice melts like butter over the arrangement. The meditative yet assertive ‘NO TIME’ is a most curious kiss off; a country ballad with jazz chords. Or is it a jazz ballad with a twang? MOVE ON is a tale of finding the strength to move forward yet not quite being able to forget the past. The upbeat number is accentuated by a plucky acoustic guitar and maracas.
Read more and Q&A at: http://www.rockwired.com/lisabell.html
Skope Magazine, April 30 2010
By Jimmy Ray
Lisa Bell is ready to ring in the summer with her delightfully exquisite new record, Dancing On The Moon. This singer/songwriter from Colorado has an incredible vocal presence on this new album. Bell digs down deep to bring you spellbinding lyrics and an emotionally-drenched performance that will leave you wanting more. Full of feeling & devotion, Lisa sings with such a burning passion inside her. With an excellent singing voice and a true knack for writing heartfelt songs, Lisa Bell is taking her music career to the next level with Dancing On The Moon.
Along with Bell, guest musicians are also featured on this CD such as: Bob Story on electric guitar, Mark Oblinger on acoustic guitar & Christian Teele on drums/percussion. Each artist added a wonderful dimension to the elegant sounds of Lisa Bell. The layering was perfect and I have to say that there were some very nice ‘n’ cool guitar moments. Each player complemented one another extremely well here and further added to that Lisa Bell appeal.
Lisa blends together an exuberant amount of styles that will satisfy your musical cravings. I’m hearing elements of roots rock, light rock, jazz, blues, country, pop and soul. The overall sound has a very mellow aura to it with a very light ‘n’ airy approach. Pleasant music and pleasing vocals give way to the sensual & soothing side of Lisa Bell. This artist offers you tranquil music to put your mind, body and soul at ease.
Bell is also taking an innovative approach to record making because she decided to use A424 RA Music tuning versus the standard A440 frequency. The purpose behind this is that this particular frequency is supposed to have healing effects toward the body & brain. So…you’re not just hearing any other album; you’re actually being healed! Everyone will have different experiences when listening to Dancing On The Moon, but there is no question that everybody will be feeling this disc.
When it comes to the actual tracks on the CD, my favorite song was “Stand Up” because it is such a fun-movin’ number that will make you want to get up and get down! The tables are turned and the mood is completely changed around on song 10, “Fire and Rain”. You get a sense of a melancholy vibe coming straight from Lisa Bell’s heart. Lisa amazingly goes from happy to sad in such a convincing fashion. Full of compassion and always singing from deep down inside, Lisa Bell has a lot to sing for and always plenty to sing about.
This singer/songwriter appears to be a special artist that has a lot to offer. A subtle charm is evident as I listen to the music and the voice of Lisa Bell. Audiences will grow once they get a load of these compelling & relaxing tunes for the soul. For more on this Boulder, Colorado-based musician and her brand new release, SKOPE out www.lisabellmusic.com.
Westword, April 29, 2010
By Jon Solomon Thursday, Apr 29 2010
On her debut album, Dare to Be…, Boulder-based singer Lisa Bell put modern spins on jazz standards, and there was still a fair amount of jazz on her second album, It’s All About Love. On her third and latest effort, Dancing on the Moon, Bell holds on to her jazz beginnings but also delves into roots, blues and pop. Most of the dozen cuts, like the funky “Change Is Free” and “Stand Up,” the breezy “After All” and “How Long,” veer more toward Norah Jones than, say, Diana Krall. The result is an album that not only shows off the singer’s warm and inviting voice, but showcases her versatility as well.
NeuFutur Magazine, April 26, 2010
“Dancing On The Moon” is a rich entry to the world of Lisa Bell, as her vocals marry together all the strengths of artists like Sheryl Crow, Feist, and even Shania Twain. The instrumentation works nicely in the creation of compelling and alluring music, all while allowing Bell’s vocals to shine the brightest they can. “No Time” is a confident track in the sense that it clocks in at four and a half minutes; where a number of bands would slowly introduce themselves to fans, this nuanced and soulful track puts everything on the line at an early spot on “Dancing On The Moon”. “No Time” succeeds in the sense that Bell and the rest of her backing band builds a solid foundation of vocals and instruments, gradually increasing tempo and energy until that point where listeners are eagerly anticipating the next track.
“After All” is a track that further expands on the sounds possible by Bell, with nods made both to “La Isla Bonita”-era Madonna, Spanish guitar work, and even traditional jazz. This eclectic blend of differing styles and approaches is the reason that listeners will continue listening to “Dancing On The Moon”, while it allows for Bell and her band to choose exactly the right tools that are needed for the task that is at hand.
The disc continues to impress even at its later reaches’; “The Last Time” is the penultimate track, and it is really Bell’s vocals that reach up to a higher plateau. There is a soulful nature to these vocals that cut to the bone, and the blues side of Bell is allowed to come forth. While there is a net of instrumentation to act as a palette for Bell, one cannot deny that these vocals are the meat and potatoes of the track. “Dancing On The Moon” is a cohesive and coherent album that furthers specific approaches without going to the same well too many time. Subsequent listens to the title will ensure that more and more of the nuances will become known to the listener, while at the same time fostering one’s appreciation for what exactly has been done here.
Top Tracks: No Time, Change Is Free
Lisa Bell – Dancing on the Moon / 2010 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.lisabellmusic.com