A Different Drum
This week I will continue to look at some of the nominees for the Western Canadian Music Awards which were held in Moose Jaw on the weekend, with four of the nominees for Best Pop Recording.
The big thing here is that 'pop' is an increasingly difficult group to get one's head around. Where does pop end and rock start? Where does pop slip back to folk?
It is a category where the music is softer, with a generally more relaxed feel, and thus many might term the music easy listening, at least back in my younger day.
Whatever the criteria was for nomination to the category, Monica Schroeder's latest A Different Drum is a CD that immediately caught my ear.
I knew I was in for something solid, or at least I expected so, having years ago reviewed Schroeder's 2000 release The Expectation of Home, and liking it a lot – and no I don't recall what I rated it back then. Schroeder had a couple more CDs released before this WCMA nominated one, but sadly I missed those.
I can tell you Schroeder continues to mature as a singer, with a voice which is simply enjoyable to listen too. She might sing a grocery list and you would enjoy listening. I mean that too in the sense the opening cut on this CD City Lights has a somewhat monotonous and repetitious chorus that could easily have turned me off as an opening cut, but Schroeder's voice carried me through that minor slip in opening song choice. It was still enough to trim a half point off the final rating.
Once past the opening cut though, Schroeder's lyrics get back on track, and she gains strength the rest of the way.
There are some truly beautiful songs here including; Hold On, These Days and November, my personal favourite.
Schroeder has a style that would fit into the same slot as say the more famed Sarah McLachlan, and quite frankly to my ear should be up there at the same level based on this fine CD. She has a sound that could easily be on the local Arts Council Stage. Yes it's pop but so accessible as to please any lover of music.
Check her out at www.monicaschroeder.com, this Manitoba performer will not disappoint.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
--Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct. 17, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada