Rising Stars: Halie Loren brings soulful passion and catchy melodies on After Dark

Image courtesy of israbox.com

Image courtesy of israbox.com

Halie Loren was born October 23, 1984 in Alaska.  By the time she was 13, her family moved from the tiny town of Sitka, Alaska to Oregon.

She has won several awards, ranging from the Billboard World Song Contest in the early 2000’s, and also won as Female Rising Star and Alternative Entertainer.  With her brand of blending in jazz standards in a pop environment while what Wikipedia called her voice as, “that’s part Etta James and part Sarah McLachlan”, I tend to differ when you hear her slow ballad version on “The Waters of March” on the album I chose to highlight.

Released initially in Japan to rave reviews on October 22, 2010–it finally made its’ American debut on November 16, 2010.  There are several recognizable songs on the album, ranging from the sea cruise commercial fare on Track 9 with “Beyond the Sea” and the 1988 Tracy Chapman classic, “Give Me One Good Reason” on Track 12.  There is also a bonus track at the end of the disk as well named “Carey.”

Halie’s version of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic starts out very slow, almost like a snail’s pace before it really picks up steam in the third verse.  I really enjoyed how she mixed in a little Portuguese with the regular lyrics.  Sometimes when the piano is playing, it felt almost like her voice was being drowned out, drifting away to some other place.  But don’t get a false impression, because it was not the low volume on my stereo that caused it.  It might have been when she was leaning toward the microphone during the recording of the album, just IMHO.

Combined with the talents of Brian West on percussion and drums, along with the likes of Jim Ferguson on bass, Dale Bradley on cello, and Jack Jezzro on guitar lending their expertise on specific tracks, this album is great for either unwinding after a hectic day, or just having on as background music when you are hosting family or friends.

And yes, the multi-fold cardboard cover features a few nice pics and a very descriptive set of statements giving out her multiple thank yous.

Halie continues to tour with her band throughout most of the world, and she keeps fans updated regularly with both her website and on her Facebook page.

My take is that Halie Loren is definitely on her way for bigger and better things.  Taking a small page from Diana Krall in trying to blend in classic jazz standards and making it her own is a nice start.  Having a voice that to me sounds almost like one part being Lisa Lauren, a one-time jazz singer who specialized in Beatles covers during the 1990’s and part of the 2000’s–plus, I sensed plenty of Norah Jones throughout many of the songs.  And that is not a bad combination in any book, as far as this blog reporter is concerned.

I think that Halie is definitely in the class of being a true Rising Star.  Will she cover any other Brazilian songs down the line, who knows?  At least, “After Dark” is a great way to scratch the surface on this Oregon sensation.

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