AMANDA LEHMANN releases first solo album (feat. Steve Hackett) - review online

  • Currently listening to it for the third time today. Much like the EP, some of it is OK, some is outstanding. Some parts might seem a touch "twee" in places, not helped by her voice, though she trades the usual voice for a much different approach on "Only happy when it rains", but elsewhere she rocks with the best of them.


    Fans of Nick Magnus should love this, for he is involved heavily, and it shows. All in all, a fine effort and one of the better albums of this year, possibly eclipsed by Plenty's "Enough" but not by much else I've heard.


    Got a signed copy too! :P

    Ian


    Works with chess - Not with life


  • With Steve Hackett


    Just brilliant!!!..........8):thumbup:



    She has been working in the music industry for over three decades, but is best known for her musical involvement with Steve Hackett. She is also responsible for the fact that the latter also dared to play the wonderful Shadow of the Hierophant live on stage. I am, of course, talking about singer/songwriter/guitarist Amanda Lehmann, who has just released her debut solo album, Innocence and Illusion; a little late, but better late than never. OK, she released an album in 1994 with Eddie Deegan as the duo Wazzoon entitled Through The Haze, but this is her first proper solo album. Innocence and Illusion, which contains nine tracks, consists of a fusion of prog, rock, ballads and elements of jazz-blues. Quite a wide variety of styles.

    Thanks to the link with brother-in-law Steve Hackett, the help of renowned musicians such as Nick Magnus and Roger King on keyboards and guest appearances by Rob Townsend on sax and Steve Hackett himself on (solo) electric and acoustic guitars and harmonica could be called in. All lyrics and music are written by Amanda Lehmann herself, except for one song, the acoustic Where the Small Things Go, which she wrote with her famous brother-in-law.

    It takes some getting used to Lehmann’s vocals. Her voice somewhat resembles Kate Bush, especially in the higher regions, but you get used to it quickly, the beautiful multi-layered vocals also appealling to the imagination. And I should definitely mention her guitar playing, always on characteristic red guitars. Whether it’s electric solos, melodic themes, heavy power chords or warm acoustic parts, she stands her ground firmly. Just listen to the dark The Watcher, with a strong blues riff at the core, a highlight of the album.

    Although Lehmann herself also plays a considerable amount of keyboards and piano, she was originally classically trained as a pianist, it is mainly Nick Magnus who steals the show. Magnus was part of Steve Hackett’s original backing band in the late 1970s and early 1980s and played on a number of his albums. It is above all his inspired and virtuoso parts and orchestral arrangements that enchant the listener, like his impressive contributions to the instrumental part of Tinkerbell, his soaring synthesiser solo on opener Who Are the Heroes? plus a whole host of electronic rhythms and original Mellotron parts. Roger King adds a beautiful string arrangement to Memory Lane, Rob Townsend does what he does best on alto saxophone, the emotional ballad is inspired by Lehmann’s mother’s debilitating dementia.


    With the same ease, King produces the sound of a bluesy jazz band on Only Happy When It Rains, Rob Townsend’s superb sax solo complementing the song. Amanda and Steve Hackett play a guitar duet on Forever Days with great solo work from Steve. That last one, an absolutely top-notch song, contains elements of both Hackett and Marillion. The elegant acoustic guitar playing on closing Where The Small Things Go is also by Steve Hackett, as is the bluesy harmonica on the aforementioned Only Happy When It Rains. Not bad if you can make use of the considerable qualities of such a legend on your debut. The jazzy ballad Childhood Delusions is dominated by strong piano playing and a great sax solo by Townsend. Finally, I think I can even hear a little bit of Pink Floyd’s High Hopes in We Are One. Excellent result for a firstborn.

    Amanda Lehmann is ‘incredibly proud of this album’ and its wide variety of music, with the journey through life as the common thread. And rightly so, I think. Although the music is laced with Hackett-like elements, it remains mainly a solo album by the lady in question; she more than sufficiently leaves her personal mark. Compliments for the cover design too, by Des Walsh Illustrations, a bit in the vein of Roger Dean.


    Love this album :)

    Edited once, last by Noni ().

  • Here is another review from DPRP


    For anyone who has listened to a Steve Hackett album released in the last decade, Amanda Lehmann is likely a familiar name. She has been an impressive element of both his studio and live output. In the marketing for this release, Steve states that she "is the new British talent with a range of expression, rarely heard on a debut album."


    Not faint praise from a legend, but a cynic could argue that his comments represent appeasement for a sister-in-law that he spends holidays with. Thankfully though, any such accusation would be erroneous, because his accolades are legitimate. Innocence And Illusion is a splendid album, loaded with a vast amount of musical depth and variety.


    Who Are The Heroes is an adventurous opening track that reflects not only the influence of her years performing with Hackett, but also the grace of Kate Bush. That comparison also applies to Tinkerbell, which displays a whimsy that is characteristic of some of Bush's earlier material.


    As an example of the musical variety contained on the album, Only Happy When It Rains is a jazz/blues number that sounds completely genuine. At times, when musical artists veer out of their comfort zone into other genres, the results are not convincing. That isn't the case here. Be it the straight forward rock of The Watcher and Forever Days, the balladic Memory Lane or the anthemic We Are One, there is an authenticity to whatever style Lehmann attempts. That variety, along with the cinematic quality of the song-writing and performances, will absolutely appeal to progressive rock fans.


    The success of this release is aided by the involvement of some talented friends from Hackett's band as well as Steve himself. Also, the instrumentation and production work of Nick Magnus is a key strength. Ultimately though, this is absolutely Lehmann's achievement. Her compositions, guitar work and distinctive vocals are superb.


    To echo Steve Hackett's praise, Innocence And Illusion is a formidable debut from an accomplished artist. There is a confidence, flow and significant quality to the album that is absolutely worthy of attention.

  • I finally found the digital album!


    Nine slightly melancholy rock ballads, sung by the gentle voice of Amanda Lehmann and accompanied by the Steve Hackett Band.


    Songs to report besides The Watcher and Memory Lane, also Only Happy When It Rains, Forever Days and the final little gem Where The Small Things Go!


    After Nad Sylvan another songwriter to add to my collection ... ;)

  • Why? Why is there an elephant on a floating rock? Why??

    Well it's - you know, it means that - actually I haven't the faintest idea.


    Probably the artist thought that particular floating rock needed that extra something. "Giraffe? Rhino? Alpaca? Okapi? No... that's it - elephant!"

    Abandon all reason

  • Well it's - you know, it means that - actually I haven't the faintest idea.


    Probably the artist thought that particular floating rock needed that extra something. "Giraffe? Rhino? Alpaca? Okapi? No... that's it - elephant!"

    It would have made more sense, and be taken much more seriously, if it was an alpaca.

  • That reminds me, I remember hearing some stuff by the Thai Elephant Orchestra - actual elephants "playing" instruments.


    It was absolute rubbish. The elephants clearly don't have a single musical bone in their bodies. Well, not the elephants in that orchestra at least.

    Abandon all reason