While we now laugh at the very long night in Joe Vannelli’s Blue Moon Studio where, huddled between speakers, we debated for hours the length of the sound of rain and the decibel of thunder - that sort of careful analysis of just those few seconds heard on this disc is indication of the careful attention to every nuance of every word sung and every note played on Brenda’s thankful return and welcome contribution to musical landscape. In short, a tremendous amount of care went into making this record.
However, as with much work in art and entertainment, this type of attention is done so it is not noticed, enabling the person enjoying the work to be taken away through doors opened by the artist. For example, in the movies, the better the special effects are, the less the audience should be aware and thereby sucked into the story. Ultimately, or better yet, the better the magician, the more the audience should be left in suspended disbelief (or belief).
Therein lies a dilemma. On the one hand, to point out the effort draws attention to it, belying its very purpose. On the other hand, it is important to note that everyone involved in this project contributed themselves completely and with such detail out of love for Brenda. No “hired guns” appear; nor did anyone “phone in” their effort. Every player, in front of the console and behind, translated their love and energy into this album from the purest of intentions.
As one of the most universally loved (and respected) members of the music community, all gathered here not simply because of her gift as a remarkable songwriter or the powerful attraction to her classic voice, but because a love for what’s inside Brenda. With all involved personally touched by the bright light which shines inside Brenda this “tremendous amount of care” was expended to best illuminate her light without distraction.
Guiding this wellspring of affection, Brenda could not have had a better collaborator than her close friend and musical partner, co-producer, Stephan Oberhoff. Brenda, Stephan, and Joe Vannelli (who exquisitely mixed the bulk of this record - in particular, note his truly brilliant mix of the title track) together with a host of talented musicians, who contributed to this work, had a singular goal of providing the proper platform that her talent and spirit so deserve.
But unlike the special effect analogy or magician, the magic created here is the real thing. The many gifts of Brenda Russell combined with the talents of those who love her, result in real magic. Nothing contrived, nothing faked. The performances and emotions are all real and the fact that they are now bottled here for you to enjoy for all times is truly magic in itself.
In the end, while it may be true that a lot of love, joy, and care went into this album, hopefully enabling you to best sense the essence of Brenda, the real story here is that so much went into this project because of the joy, love and essence of Brenda.