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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 34 - 07/28/99

Fisher
One
Rawfish Records

In the world of books, self-publishing is frowned upon. Writers who produce their own books are thought of as vain or impatient, even though the publishing opportunities open to them grow increasingly competitive and often go to established writers. Fortunately, self-production and independent labels are on the rise in the world of music, with many now-major artists beginning by producing their first albums, and some, such as Ani DiFranco, steadfastly staying independent even while major label offers pour in.

When Fisher's song Breakable appeared on the Great Expectations soundtrack last year, it was a standout on an otherwise humdrum collection. People began to ask, "Where can I get their album?". "What album?", was the response, for while the soundtrack was produced by Atlantic Records, Fisher's contract called for only one song and no more.

Well, the wait is over. Amid this current of self-produced albums comes one of the best debut albums to surface in a long while. With only nine tracks, it is able to do what few major label albums can: make you long for more. Until then, you'll have to contend yourself by hitting the Repeat button on your CD player.

Fisher is named after singer/lyricist Kathy Fisher, whose lush vocals find hints of Sarah McLachlan one moment, Natalie Merchant's purr another, with a bit of gruffness around the edges when needed. And as with many modern female songwriters, Fisher matches her radiant voice with a strong musicianship, producing songs with co-writer Ron Wasserman that contain integrity and lyricism.

The first track to grab your ears is The Life, an aggressive commentary on mass-produced celebrity and how the spotlight so often generates reproach by those that seek it. Another high point of the first listen is Hello It's Me, a rollicking piano driven track addressing Atlantic's lack of a contract even with Breakable's success: "You filled me with Great Expectations / just to hide me in your basement".

The rocking tracks are nicely balanced with lyrical ballads, such as True North or I Will Love You, though every track is worth noting and deserving of a listen. Also refreshing: though the drums are programmed, they don't sound programmed, and are most often coupled with real guitar and bass, giving the songs life rather than synthetic conformity.

One is currently only available through online music stores, but the music fans on the Internet are hearty troops, eagerly spreading the good word about albums and artists they've discovered, and this good word will hopefully include Fisher. In fact, this album first came to my attention thanks to a mention on Tori Amos fan site and I am eternally grateful.

You can check out Fisher's official website, for more information.

Copyright © 1999 J. A. Gilbert e-mail address

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