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New World in Blue
Artist: Cailyn

Label: Indie (Cailyn Records)
Time: 4 tracks / 22:47
 
It becomes obvious before you get half-way through Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing,” the EP’s first track, that there’s something seriously missing here. What’s missing is a band. Cailyn Lloyd (known as ‘Cailyn’) is a woman that knows how to play rippling blues-rock guitar licks in a heavily Roy Buchanan influenced style, but her technique and flash become little more than, well, technique and flash in the sterile setting of synthesized drum, bass and orchestration that dominates New World in Blue
 
The decision to create all of the music on the project herself was a courageous one, but perhaps ill-advised. Creating blues-based music without the benefit of other musicians in the studio to get those creative and emotional juices flowing is something that rarely works,  and is a task that has been done well by only a select few. There are four tracks on New World in Blue, the first two with vocals, the last two without. Singing is the only thing that Cailyn didn’t attempt herself on the project, although one wonders if she might have had more success than Kelly Rose’s  lethargic and amateurish vocal on “Clouds,”  and Ric Prida’s over-the-top wailing on “Little Wing,” which has one of the most awkwardly-sung opening phrases that I’ve heard in a long time. “Clouds” is the EP’s sole original work and is, musically, little more than a simple bed of chords to solo over, and is burdened with such high-school literary magazine lyrics as, “Touch me and all will turn to gold / Love me before I get too old / Come quickly before it’s too late / Give me love where once was hate.”
 
Cailyn challenges herself  on the third and fourth tracks (actually, the fourth track is listed as a ‘bonus’ track) by attempting to interpret two classical pieces: “New World in Blue,” is a freely interpreted version of Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony (also known as the New World Symphony), and “For Elise,” which is Beethoven’s very recognizable “Fur Elise.” The lengthy Dvorak piece, known by many for the melody that was lifted from the music and became the Negro spiritual, “Goin’ Home,” blends well-played but somewhat intrusive blues-rock licks with freely-arranged passages realized by hopelessly synthetic sounding orchestration and lifeless drum programming. The melding of rock and classical music is nothing new, and has worked well on occasion. In the heyday of classic rock, bands like Focus and Procol Harum successfully interpreted classical themes, but always in the context of band members bringing character and power into the playing, and often with a certain ironic sense that they were forcing two ends of the musical spectrum to collide. Unfortunately, Cailyn’s effort sounds more like an academic exercise.
 
“For Elise,” fairs better, perhaps because Lloyd didn’t try to shoe-horn blues licks into the piece, but instead does a fairly straight arrangement, keeping the song intact, albeit with the same low-budget synth sound.
 
Cailyn would greatly benefit from an objective outside ear to steer her away from the well-meaning excess that renders her considerable skills to little effect on this project. Certainly, a band, some more challenging material, and an outside producer are elements that would make Cailyn’s world more ‘new’ and less ‘blue.’ 
 
By Bert Saraco 
www.myspace.com/expressimage      
http://expressimagephoto.tripod.com  
 
 
 
 

 
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