Kiya Heartwood Wing
Review by: Len Rogers
The most difficult thing about writing this review was concentrating on the writing of the review. Kiya Heartwood draws you into the music, heart, mind, and soul. So I frequently found myself lost in the music with an empty page glaring back at me. Of course my old hippie self was and is overjoyed at "Bold Swimmer" and all that Kiya brings to the listening enjoyment. However the reviewer side was stuck on simple reactions like; "wonderful", bravo" "beautiful!" and the ever-present hit the replay button! Truly unique, and in some soothing ways reminiscent of names like Heart and Bonnie Raitt. In other words an awesome talent! Kiya Heartwood is one half of the award winning duo Wishing Chair. Kiya's stand alone strength is equally inspiring.
Eleven tracks strong this is a full flavored and all delivering showcase of the power of Heartwood's talent. A folk based rocking blues musical trip which leaves you wanting more. Much more. Ten of the songs are pure Kiya Heartwood words and music. That is indeed a very good thing. However, just as mesmerizing is Heartwood's cover of the Bricusse/Newly classic "Feeling Good". There is no lesser standing to any portion of "Bold Swimmer". Production is flawless. Instrumentation and accompaniment is perfect. Lyrics are pertinent, timeless, and touching. Kiya takes you from toe-tapping indulgence to out of your chair and moving, in seamless sweeps of musical passion. The album title comes from Walt Whitman's "Song Of Myself Part 46" and in that tells you right away this is a thinking music lover's CD.
Beginning with the title track, "Bold Swimmer" Heartwood delivers more than this listener imagined. By the end of the title song I was drawn in, totally at ease, and lost in Heartwood's talent. "Bold Swimmer" is catchy yet not overly commercial in style. Immediately I found myself humming along and in a pure state of enjoyment. Transitions from song to song are natural. No rough bumps or suddenly endings. Heartwood is smooth and wraps your senses with pleasant imagery, soul soothing melodies, and lyrical prowess. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite form "Bold Swimmer".
Stand outs for me would be obviously more than one song. "Change (Is Gonna Come) however warmed this activist's heart. Yet was more inspiring than emotionally charging. No angst ridden protest songs here. Real lyrics about our times and reactions of the heart and soul, not marching music. "I Love You" a pure love song but not a 'done me wrong' song. Refreshing in that Heartwood talks of loving, and not the frequently heard he/she broke my heart type. That same positive and touching approach is constant throughout the entire CD which is "Bold Swimmer". "Cross The Line" more about taking it to the next level, than what you would expect from the title. Is a steamy bluesy piece which for me passed the threshold of classics like "Black Velvet". In "Lights Of Austin" Kiya combines the power of musical symmetry with lyrics which encircle you with welcoming visuals. Beguiling and familiar, this song quickly imbeds itself in your psyche and you are very happy with that reaction. The closing track, and only non-Heartwood written song, "Feeling Good" is a completely unique take on a timeless classic. Leaving you satisfied and yet with a strong yearning for more.
All in all that, "yearning for more" feeling is the strongest reaction with which I can best describe the overall experience of "Bold Swimmer". Obviously my compulsion to hit the replay button won many times. Even while writing this review Kiya Heartwood's "Bold Swimmer" is playing and inspiring. And continues to do so in my mind. My sincere hope is that Kiya Heartwood and "Bold Swimmer" garner the attention and reception deserved. I cannot imagine why it would not. Although in the genre sadly women are sometimes overlooked and not granted the acclamation and respect deserved. Heartwood's talent however demands that same acclimation and respect. Not with harsh order but with deep soul filling wondrous talent!
Check out all things Kiya Heartwood and get "Bold Swimmer" at Kiya's website.
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