On Time Signatures, the new release from the World Stage International branch of NuGroove Records, singer/songwriter Lisa McClowry presents an emotionally charged, refreshingly different, Adult Contemporary expression. Utilizing her powerfully affecting vocals on some choicely blended musical genres; she combines strong melodies with intelligent lyrical content presented with adept clever clout. Assisting her with the songwriting inspiration is Grammy award winning ("Eye of the Tiger") composer Jim Peterik. His deserved reputation as a prolific hit-maker with the proven ability to incorporate life experiences into his music stimulates the pair to team up for some high quality efforts. Eight of the twelve original compositions are joint efforts of the duo; with Peterik credited as sole author on the other four. Peterik also masterfully controls the production chores as well as delivering an assortment of musical performances with guitars, keyboards, and percussion instruments.
The title track is a bouncy example of the excellence achieved when McClowry wraps her powerful, technically skilled vocals around attractive summery melodies. It tidily leads off the CD, quickly capturing the listener’s attention, never to relinquish it.
The soft-rock song "Waiting For You" has shimmery weeping guitar and sturdy percussion that compliments Lisa’s passionately sultry vocal. A hint of blues shades her singing, as she commandingly sustains the long notes with full-bodied gusto. It’s a stand-out track, and a prime candidate for wide public acceptance.
A rock guitar leads into the rock/blues vocal on "Born Twice," a song completed with soulful backing vocals. This harder edge song intermingles very well with the other varied styles presented, proving Lisa a most versatile songstress with plenty of flair to spare.
A tender and sweeping ballad entitled "Roses For No Reason" features Lisa’s emotive vocals that slowly build into a crescendo like waves breaking onto a beach. The use of programmed strings coupled caringly with a romantic piano holds the focus where it rightly belongs; firmly on McClowry’s exceptional vocals. The lyrics mimic the possible diary entries of a love-struck young girl. The object of her affection most likely sees his reason for this romantic gesture (the gift of roses) is to provide material evidence of his amorous nature.
Lisa’s sassy side becomes apparent on "Powerful Day." Peterik’s rock guitar snakes along menacingly against a heavy rock backbeat while intertwining with Lisa’s robust vocal treatments to achieve flavorsome perfection. "Won’t Say Bye Bye" has a sensual jazzy feel. The synthesis of vibes (Steve Hunt), Hammond B-3 organ (Jeff Lantz), and a charming muted trumpet courtesy of Orbert Davis, all splendidly support a wonderful world-wise vocal by McClowry. This song will definitely grow on you. The same can certainly be said of the enchanting "Come Dancing," a song that features lush orchestration and the beautiful vocal clarity and purity reminiscent of Karen Carpenter.
Yet another CD highpoint is provided with "Unconditional Surrender." Lisa had supplied a guest vocal on guitarist Nick Colionne’s genre boundary stretching No Limits CD release a couple years ago. Colionne takes the opportunity here to repay the favor, adding his unobtrusive six-stringed elegance to end the song with a flourish. The song is further enhanced by the wizardry of jazz instrumentalist Steve Oliver who contributes programmed flute.
The cool and breezy "Utopia," sets sail with Lisa smoothly reaching her upper musical range register as her voice glides with ease over the lyrics. Her enthralling vocals, from time to time, boast a velvety soothingly peaceful tone.
"When It Comes From The Heart" is the closing song, and is taken from the documentary "When It Comes From The Heart - The Journey Of A Song." It’s an inspirational anthem that is sung with deep heart-felt conviction. The lyrics embrace an optimistic attitude on life’s journey, advocating grabbing on tight and enjoying all of life’s memorable moments. Nick Colionne and Mike Aquino team to deliver appealing guitar accompaniment.
In the CD liner notes, the talented tune craftsman Jim Peterik declares that Lisa McClowry possesses a unique gift. In my opinion, her gift is an instinctive ability to render soul-shaking emotions that emanate from her essence and touch a chord with the listener’s feelings.
Frequently the songs on Time Signatures point toward a populist attitude; emphasizing or promoting ordinary people, their lives, and their interests. These themes provide common ground to charm nearly all listeners. In addition, she possesses an adept vibrant singing style which values dynamics over acrobatics and combines compelling, passionate, and occasional elegant hues. All these qualities coalesce brilliantly to make Lisa McClowry a rising star on the threshold of major popular acceptance.