Natural Wonder

Natural Wonder

by Phoebe Snow


Phoebe Snow released her last major-label album in 1989, but returned to record-making in 1998 with I Can't Complain, an all-covers album for the House of Blues label. Five years on from that, she is back on Eagle Records with Natural Wonder, which makes a case for artistic reinvention not only because it is the first disc to feature any of her original compositions in 14 years, but also because those songs are largely devoted to issues of self-actualization and spirituality. And one more thing: Snow, who spent much of her major-label career flirting with sophisticated jazz-pop, here returns to very much of a pop
ock style, guided by her co-producer, Jim Chapdelaine, who fills the arrangements with guitar work played by Roger Butterley, Jim Mastro, and himself. That funky sound which Phil Ramone got on Snow's Columbia Records albums of the '70s is gone. So, to a large extent, is the confusion about whether Snow is a singer/songwriter or an interpretive singer. There are only two covers on the album, and while one of them is the sort of thing old fans might expect, a take on the Four Tops' "Baby, I Need Your Loving"; the other is one they probably wouldn't: a moody, intense reading of rock band Live's '90s hit "Lightning Crashes." But that's only two songs out of 11; the rest are Snow originals, albeit eight of them co-writes with a variety of others. On them, Snow makes clear at the outset that she is an emotional veteran who has made it through with philosophical and spiritual help. Opening track "Sahara" is not about the desert, it's about a person named Sahara Sunday Spain, whom Snow thanks in the acknowledgements for "divine inspiration," something one would have thought only God could provide. But Sahara does do something: "She says don't be frightened," Snow explains in the chorus, "Says we're all enlightened." The person or being giving guidance in the next song, "How Beautiful," is not named, but seems equally helpful. "You are my mantra," Snow begins. Those of a less religious turn of mind may be more comfortable with the more down-to-earth self-help messages conveyed in the bouncy "Above the Band," which is full of advice -- "Tell a joke, don't smoke, be a little careless," etc. -- and with the emphatic "Changed," in which the heightened language is leavened with more practical matters. "I've been changed/Purified by the flame," Snow proclaims, adding, "I remember how my last $20 was spent." Happily, all this concern with uplift has not prevented the songwriter from falling in love now and then, although, as usual, the experience is not a smooth one, as revealed in "The Other Girlfriend" (that's what the singer complains she is) and "Key to the Street," in which Snow, in her only sole composition, heeds the advice of a psychic to turn out a succession of unsuitable suitors. Ultimately, the Snow fan is likely to be less concerned with whatever spiritual guidance she has followed to keep her going to this point than relieved that, once again, it is possible to hear her sing on a disc and not just in a TV or radio commercial. Her voice itself remains a natural wonder, and if the jazz elements of her music have been purged this time around, she is just as good a rock singer as she ever was, making her return to action a cause for celebration.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2009
Label: Imports
UPC: 5034504125421
catalogNumber: 843231

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Phoebe Snow   Primary Artist
Steve Burgh   Electric Guitar
David Z.   Electric Guitar
Shannon Ford   Percussion,Drums
Michael Mancini   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Wurlitzer
Jim Mastro   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Jim Chapdelaine   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Ukulele,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Fretless Bass Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Brian Dozoretz   Bass
John Peckman   Percussion,Drums
Roger Butterley   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar
Joe Grieco   Piano,Vocals
Tim Tindall   Bass

Technical Credits

Phoebe Snow   Composer,Producer
Kevin Bents   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Shannon Ford   Loop
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Dave Kowalski   Engineer
Gerard McMahon   Composer
Don Yowell   Composer
Jim Chapdelaine   Producer,Instrumentation
Tina Shafer   Composer
Brian Dozoretz   Engineer
David Wilson   Executive Producer
Roger Butterley   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Natural Wonder 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been listening to this collection in my cd mixes and find the songwriting, band and especially the vocals are not your usual, they've got a nice live feel and not trying to catch on to any current trends. Phoebe hasn't really had a batch of songs that do her justice in quite awhile. Although she can be killer when she's slow tempo and with the right producers she's put out a collection of tunes thats fresh and different but showcases her one and a million voice, yes at times almost bombastic, at times reaching for impossible notes but always real, she doesn't have to force herself to sing, she's got some pipes that any singer would envy. The more you take this in the more I'm growing to really enjoy the many sides of this whole project. I give it 5 stars as its not your usual pop project but something from the heart and inspiring, a rock project in every way! Thanks Pheobe for this gift, excellent band also and please don't make us wait so long, get out their and show them what makes you so special, that VOICE!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was my great privilege to serve as guest host and introduce Ms. Snow at the New York Songwriters' Circle. The gift that is Phoebe Snow shines brightly through her new CD, "Natural Wonder." Singing real music, she engages her audience with her signature sound. Clearly, any concert hall would be fortunate to have her. Thank you Phoebe Snow. And, thank you Tina Shafer, host of the New York Songwriters' Circle, and songwriter for "Above the Band."
Guest More than 1 year ago
Phoebe Snow is one of those rare artists that comes along every once in a long while, transcending time and genre. Her music has inspired an entire generation of singer/songwriters, longing to achieve the artistic integrity and praise that Phoebe has over the years. "Natural Wonder" is further proof that Phoebe will likely inspire the next generation of songwriters with the infectious melodies of songs like "Sahara," and "Baby, I need your Loving." I have always been a fan, but last year I got to have the rare experience of co-writing with Phoebe for this album. The first day we got together, we wrote 3 songs. Among those songs were, "Ever Surprised" and "Natural Wonder." ...Ahh...a day I'll NEVER forget! Enjoy! Drew Yowell