The Good Ones

Tina Shafer

Independent release, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


As a New York City singer, songwriter, and vocal coach, the list of artists Tina Shafer has taught is just as impressive as her song craft, and includes household names like Norah Jones, Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, and Lana Del Rey to name a few. Additionally, Shafer's songwriting credits range from Celine Dion to Sheena Easton, so it's pretty clear this woman knows her way around a memorable tune.

Amid all her efforts spent launching the careers of others, Shafer set time aside for her own work. It resulted in this reflective 11 song album that seems like a musical autobiography to the many lows and highs in Shafer's life in recent years. Having lost both of her parents in a short amount of time, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Good Ones is understandably an album with much depth and emotion, though it is not without its upbeat moments, too.

The lead off track “Crack The Sky” is a Nashville tinged pop-rock song that is catchy enough for mainstream appeal and encompasses both a graceful and playful spirit. However, it's the second tune “Strange Life” with its soft keys, impressive vocal range, and poetic style that is reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan's heyday that really lays the foundation of the album.

Further on, the title track “The Good Ones” is also piano driven and sparse with an aching, orchestral backdrop that contains much subtle power, which leads into the fuller, lush beauty of “Serenity Prayer.” “Get It Right” shifts gears into a more chilling atmosphere with calm acoustic guitars and layered vocals leaving a lasting impression – though not as lasting as “Carnival,” which actually sounds like a song you'd hear at a carnival.

The last few songs get a little more introspective and moody, especially on “Don't Be Afraid” with its breathy vocals, and on “Lesson” Shafer hits some really high notes before the aptly titled closer “In Spite Of It All.” A thoughtful, pensive conclusion, the song's theme and forthrightness really do summarize the entire album well.

You can't deny that there is a sameness that applies to these tracks. It's obvious that Shafer knows her strengths well and makes sure she hits on all those high points with every song here. Rather than experimenting and poking and prodding with mediocre results, Shafer opts for the sure thing, and I'm quite alright with that.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.