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An eventful evening from Julia Fordham

West Hollywood, Cal. House of Blues, July 20, 2004

By Dan MacIntosh

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - Whenever the House of Blues lines chairs up in front of the stage, it usually signifies that something special is about to happen. And such was certainly the case tonight, as British vocalist Julia Fordham had selected this Hollywood Strip venue to tape her upcoming live DVD release.

But with a vocal range such as hers, almost anywhere she sings becomes a special event. And she undeniably proved to be nothing less than eventful tonight.

Opening with the familiar "Falling Forward," before launching into a set that included older hits and newer selections from the upcoming "That's Life" release, Fordham showed off that husky, low-end of her voice. It was all so surprisingly unexpected to hear such tones coming out of a petite girl like her.

But when she covered Minnie Ripperton's "Lovin' You" with spot-on high note perfection, Fordham's vocalizing escalated to an out-of-this world quality. In fact, she followed this up with her own song, "Roadside Angel," which is she wrote specifically about Ripperton's life.

Do you ever feel like some people are just too talented? Fordham is an excellent songwriter, in addition to being an exciting singer, making her doubly blessed.

Fordham treated her audience to a few new songs from her about-to-be-released Larry Klein-produced album, as well. These fresh ones included the organ-flavored soul of "Jump" and the equally soulful "Sugar," which repeated the lyrical refrain: "Sifting through the sand for sugar." Amazingly, Fordham has the kind of voice that might just as easily be applied to opera, yet she sounds perfectly at home getting down and funky.

Along the way, Fordham played the perfect DVD party hostess, joking with the crowd and having a good time, instead of getting nervous about having her performance permanently recorded for stereo and screen. She was aided by a stellar band, which included Klein on bass, studio great Dean Parks on guitar and a special appearance by jazz trumpeter Mark Isham on quite a few numbers.

This combination of a unique vocalist in a unique club setting, added up to a wonderfully memorable night of music.



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