There are many reasons to like Michelle Stewart’s music. She pens lush, emotional lyrics while using simple vocabulary; she creates strong and clear melodies that come off as easy and straightforward even when taking twists and turns; and she writes songs full of heart. It is this last feature, Stewart’s heart, that distinguishes her from other artists. She comes off as deep and sweet, two elements that rarely combine except to form a sticky mess.
Stewart’s muse is more like that of a wounded bird that still takes flight. The pain is just one more thing to overcome. She’s dreaming about flying away before the sun rises, being a passenger in time, and traveling to a new place, and such, because no matter where she is or goes, she is already centered—or left of centered in that blood-pumping organ Stewart calls her “red, red heart”.
The album does have a few flaws. Stewart can be over-earnest in lieu of honesty. She tries too hard to achieve a transcendence that doesn’t seem earned—a fact exasperated by the cluttered production. The instruments, especially Stewart’s voice, need to be brighter and breathe more.
Still, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. Sands of Time offers a personal look at the world through the eyes of a sensitive soul who performs from the heart.
// Notes from the Road
"Powerful Chicago soul-singer dips into the '60s and '70s while dabbling in Urdu, Punjabi and Italian.READ the article