From an outstanding young woman in Calgary, Alberta, Canada comes a phenomenal jazz/R&B CD that is only now starting to receive the accolades it so richly deserves. Johanna (pronounced Yo-Anna) Sillanpaa wrote or co-wrote all of the wonderful lyrics and charts that adorn this disc.
The prettiest song on this CD is "On The Other Side." This song works so well because of the textures and hues. Shannon Couture and Sillanpaa through the magic of technology provide breathtaking backup vocals. Chris Andrew’s graceful piano and keyboard chops are beautiful. Rob Vulic’s subtle beat on the cymbals combines with Kodi Hutchinson’s bass to create a gentle whispery tune. Singing passionately, "So I’ll see you on the other side/How long are the days/On the other side/Please don’t get lost/Into the other side/I need to know it in my heart/On the other side/Just say that you’ll be there," Sillanpaa’s smooth groove wonders out loud what happens to those we love when they pass from this life.
Peter Bacsalmasi is an individual I was not familiar with until this CD dawned captured my imagination with his vocal engineering. Aaron Young and Johanna Sillanpaa collaborated to produce Good Life. Sillanpaa’s classically trained vocals are unblemished and her voice sultry. Vocally she has an attitude that will get under your skin and keep you spellbound. The title track "Good Life" with its ‘respect me’ lyrics are sung with a convincing sauciness.
If the flirtatious "Good Life" doesn’t get your attention then "Hush" will. Sillanpaa’s teasing "I want a man not a boy" attitude and cooing of "My Love is no consolation price/So hush boy ‘cause you’re not ready, not by far," will leave you wanting more. Her vocals are enveloped in some great guitar riffs from Young and strong bass work from Kodi Hutchinson. The lamentable "One More Day" hints of first hand experience with confused or lost love. As good as she is on the other songs this may be the one in which she delivers with the most passion.
"My Oh My" spells sensuality in capital letters. The petite delicately featured Sillanpaa matches her outward beauty with emotive vocals that will turn up the temperature in any room on any night. This is the kind of song that should cause you to turn to your lady or man and say, ‘this song reminds me of us.’ "My Oh My" is not about raw sex but think of it as slow gentle lovemaking set to music.
Johanna Sillanpaa writes and sings with a passion that won’t cause your grandmother to blush or send your parents scurrying for cover. This artist confesses to writing about her moods, colors and passions. Once the rest of the world begins to discover Sillanpaa, she will have more record deals thrust in front of her than she will have time to consider. She is a superbly talented young woman who has been singing professionally since she was fourteen years old. If she gets the media attention she deserves she could very well be Canada’s next Diana Krall.