Bruce's Submitted Review
"The View from Here", is a 4 track CD single (running about 20 minutes), which is a preview of the forthcoming full length "Anam Cara" CD from Oliver Wakeman and Rachel.
Rachel's stunning voice and Oliver's rich keyboards (and piano!) are augmented by Dave Wagstaffe, Tim Buchanan and David Mark Pearce, forming what seems to me like a modern "folk - rock" band. The chemistry is remarkable, allowing the freedom of their individual styles as musicians to blend into something special, a true listening pleasure.
The sound is very crisp, clear and refreshing; helping to convey a strong sense of warmth and optimism, leaving the listener feeling good. The music and the lyrics cleverly tell stories and ask questions about lovers being apart and coming together, emotionally and/or physically. Really powerful stuff, and so skilfully performed.
The tracks are: "The View From Here", "Instead Of My Fear", "1000 Autumns", and "The View From Here" - the original, Celtic version. As far as I know, this is exclusive to the CD single and will not appear on "Anam Cara"
The Celtic version of "The View from Here" immediately grabbed my attention, and was the early favorite. Perhaps it's the ending of the song, with the "medieval pied piper" leading all the happy hearts triumphantly off into the sunset that really grabs me.
With (many) subsequent listens, I must say the other tracks keep gaining strength, with "1000 Autumns" now my personal favorite. The band really does work well together, and I am really fond of the perfectly placed guitar solos, which are delicate and not overplayed. It reinforces the romantic feel to the music.
This CD single, being a sample of the forthcoming "Anam Cara" CD, clearly indicates that we are in for something very special indeed! Congratulations once again, Oliver!
Bruce Treadwell - May 29, 2003
'Musical Discoveries' Review
The first recording to emerge from the collaboration of Oliver Wakeman and Rachel Heffer is a 4-track advanced and limited edition EP from their forthcoming album Anam Cara. The team performed selections from The House Of The Baskervilles with their band most recently at the Classic Rock Society Best Of The Year awards in Rotherham to vast acclaim.
Oliver Wakeman's piano and keyboards are perfectly complimented by Rachel's stunning crystalline voice. The lineup is completed by Landmarq's Dave Wagstaffe (drums), Tim Buchanan (bass) and David Mark Pearce (guitar). The EP opens with the title track, a steady ballad featuring layers of Rachel's crystalline vocals supporting her lead and classical Wakeman-style piano-based instrumentation. The blending of styles is perfectly illustrated by the robust guitar solo during the bridge.
The EP continues with the rocker "Instead Of My Fear" which blends keyboards with robust guitar excursions that support Rachel's crystalline vocals. Another gentle ballad that would be equally at home in the West End as on this EP is entitled "1000 Autumns." In addition to the piano melodies in the verses, rich synth washes add texture to the chorus. We especially enjoyed Rachel's vocalise during the bridge. The additional instrumental solos are equally stunning.
A stunning reprise and extended arrangement of "The View From Here" concludes the EP. We especially appreciated the crispness of the harp and Rachel's additional vocal layers as well as the extended Celtic-style keyboard solo.
It is worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is a must listen!
To view the original click here.
'Rock Society Magazine' Review
Anam Cara Promotional CD (now "The View from Here" Single)
This is Oliver Wakeman's latest project giving us a chance to have an early look at three tracks from the forthcoming album. Oliver draws on the beautiful voice of Rachel of Rachel & Common Ground fame, Landmarq's drum ace Dave Wagstaffe, bass man Tim Buchanan and David Mark Pearce on guitar.
The CD starts out with 'The View from Here'; a steady paced ballad where Rachel sounds stunning, Oliver's keyboard style is reminiscent of his famous father and the injection of a guitar solo perfect. Classic rock fans that want to associate Oliver with the rockier face of music ought to get off the boat right here because his music has nothing less than beauty and a classical appeal that he has been building on for several years. His work with Clive Nolan (Jabberwocky and Hounds of the Baskerville) has obviously been a stepping-stone towards this and other work for the future. What does shine through is Oliver's obvious ability to write music for concepts and even for a West End show, a place where he must aim for.
His use of pure piano and the more electronic side slots in to place perfectly and with Rachel's easy on the ear voice and the clean nature of the music it will appeal to a wider audience. He is, in essence, a totally different style of keyboard player to younger brother Adam and where a juicy guitar solo bursts in to a song like 'Instead of my Fear' you could be forgiven in thinking that Oliver is trying hard to appease progressive rock fans as well as those with leanings towards the classical concepts.
"1000 Autumn's" is the third track and again the pace of the song is gentle and totally right for Rachel's voice. It all melts together so well this could be a partnership made in Devon!