David Arkenstone and Charlee Brooks
2015 / Green Hill Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Inamorata is the third collaboration from new age music legend David Arkenstone and vocalist/lyricist Charlee Brooks, following Celtic Garden and Loveren. With the goal of creating a sound with more of a pop flavor, Arkenstone and Brooks have included four cover tunes (the themes from Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones plus hits from Zedd and Sarah Brightman) that work seamlessly with the eight originals. The big symphonic sound that Arkenstone is so well known for is complemented by the passionate violin playing of David Davidson, and yet the combination never overpowers Brooks’ voice, allowing her to soar to new heights while expressing a full range of emotions. The title is the Italian word for a woman who loves or is loved, and the lyrics to these love songs are written from a feminine perspective. Ten of the twelve tracks feature Brooks’ beautiful vocals and the two instrumentals are the theme from Game of Thrones and a lullaby Arkenstone wrote for his niece who was born while they were recording the album (she wasn’t born in the recording studio!!!). One of the superstars of the new age music genre, Arkenstone has produced more that forty albums in a career that began with his 1987 debut, Valley In The Clouds, and includes three Grammy nominations, twenty Billboard hits, film and television soundtracks, and music for games. I think we can expect a similarly illustrious career from Charlee Brooks!
Inamorata begins with “Believe,” a song that expresses the thoughts of someone following her dreams and living in the moment. “Did I Make the Most of Loving You?” is the theme from Downton Abbey, and Brooks makes it her own with deep emotion as well as feelings of longing and loss. The title track is a beautiful love song that promises love forever and demonstrates the power and depth of Brooks’ voice. Zedd’s “Clarity” is the story of a love gone wrong, overflowing with pain and questioning why it has to be that way; Brooks expresses all of that and more. My favorite track is the intense and passionate “Beautiful Storm.” Charlee really soars on this one! The fourth of the cover songs is “Harem,” made popular by Sarah Brightman, a singer Brooks is sometimes compared to. Exotic and sensual, David Davidson’s violin matches the smoldering heat of Brooks’ vocals. I also really like “Invisible,” a heartbreaker that would be an evocative closing theme for a movie. “Lullaby For Belina” is a wonderful closing instrumental - a sweet love song for a newborn baby girl.
My colleague, Michael Diamond, calls Inamorata “a romantic masterpiece” and I would have to agree! Sure to be a Favorite for 2015, it is available from Amazon and iTunes and most retail music outlets. Very highly recommended!
March 3, 2015
Review by Michael Debbage