You are hereAlbum Review: Blue O'Connell - Choose the Sky (Self Release)

Album Review: Blue O'Connell - Choose the Sky (Self Release)

By Allan Wilkinson - Posted on 12 December 2011

Upon first hearing Charlottesville-based singer/guitarist Blue O'Connell's album CHOOSE THE SKY, with its complex guitar instrumentals and well-crafted self-probing songs, the standard of musicianship should come as no surprise, bearing in mind that Blue has experienced no less than 36 years of musical exploration, studying with the likes of Robert Fripp, Ralph Towner and Dusan Bogdonvic along the way. What will be a startling revelation to some is that Blue O'Connell has been cheated of the very thing all musicians depend upon, her hearing. Having undergone cochlear implant surgery, basically being fitted with electronic hearing devices, Blue has managed to complete and release this beautiful record.

With seven instrumental pieces and six songs, Blue presents an introspective album of personal experiences, some of which were written as far back as 1989. It's difficult not to imagine a remarkable sense of determination in Blue's musical endeavours, which is not only profoundly humbling but also thoroughly uplifting at the same time. Joining Blue are Peter Markush on cello and Mary Gordon Hall on harmony vocals with producer Jeff Romano contributing guitar on the bonus track Intermission No. 50, on which Blue plays the Native American flute. 

Whilst instrumentals such as For the Lily Grows and Invocation of the Mystery Guest are highly accomplished guitar pieces, it's with the songs that we approach an understanding of who Blue O'Connell really is. Both Choose the Sky and To Belong were originally instrumentals, to which Blue wrote lyrics much later. Highly personal and moving, these songs in particular provide an insight into what Blue O'Connell is all about. Having heard To Belong several times now, I can readily confirm that I know precisely where this and all the other compositions belong, right here in my record collection and glad to have them there. Perhaps they should be in yours too. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky

For more information about Blue O'Connell and her music visit:

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