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somewhere in BLUE
2008 Verbena Music (ASCAP)

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somewhere in BLUE

The 2008 IndepenDisc of the Year!

Total Time: 39:16
Cost: $9.98 + s/h*

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STYLECountryPop / Roots Rock

HOME TOWN: Millburn, NJ

1. Somewhere in Blue
2. Mr. Midnight
3. I Wish I Could Be Enough
4. Why Do Hearts Grow Cold?
5. Gemini Guy
6. What the Love (Are You Gonna Do?)
7. Rambling Dave
8. That Moon's Got It Made
9. Best Kind of Something
10. Science Fiction
11. You Are the Sweetest Dream
12. Goodbye Dreamer

Visit deena's WEB SITE & Facebook page.

Issue #113                                         Dec. ‘08

somewhere in BLUE is a powerful statement from a Rock-n-Roll adult. Deena has taken her sweetness, evidenced through some of the most versatile vocals of pure innocence, and crafted a gem of an album. This album becomes a classic for every mid-life rocker whose roots drink deeply from the country/southern rock/rockabilly influences of the 50s, carried through the 60s, and 70s, right on up to where this huge demographic of music listeners is today. This album is a history lesson tied around Mid-life and it gives back the love/music that has gone missing in our lives. It metaphorically updates our love affair(s) with music by taking to task a story of a lonely, loving, isolated, caring soul committed to a long term relationship with many ties and obligations. But, there is something missing – while committed enough to understand the scope of her world and how much rests and relies on her, she has convinced herself content with her situation – Yet, she seeks solace in a semi-dreamlike state, or as the narrator calls it: somewhere in BLUE. A story arc develops through several different perspectives and scenarios as she begins, not to abandon her state, but to explore the possibilities of all the stages she needs to fulfill, in order to validate her existence, in regard to what cannot be found or fulfilled within the limited reaches of her everyday life – a life which grows shorter with each year – a Mid-life crisis? A Love crisis? A music crisis? Or simply a crisis? Well Deena, with somewhere in BLUE, has made it all a celebration.

This album opens with the title track, somewhere in BLUE: a dreamy Starland Ballroom musical setting, which has us half-expecting Dusty Springfield to step to the mic. Somewhere in BLUE is loneliness; it is reflective of a searching heart, a soul who has lost what she once had and wants it back. She searches, leaning on an old flame: a Buddy Holly-esque ballad standard which Deena wraps her aching, longing vocals around. So melancholy, so down-in-the-dumps blue, we feel her love (and the music) aching to be wanted, to be needed again:

Blue surrounds me
Wraps itself around me
If only it were you
My love could come through
Somewhere in blue

Is this pointed at a fantasy escape in the mind of our protagonist? Or is it a real possibility on her part? Or perhaps it can also be viewed through the eyes of the other partner? Either way we’re into an in-depth exploration of the lure of infidelity in the heart, soul, and sound.

Enter Mr. Midnight, all amped up as our adventure begins. She’s tossed herself out there, open to the possibilities that may be achieved even if within the limitation of her life, and Mr. Midnight is definitely a possibility because she caught his eye. This seemingly dreamlike sequence is accented by call and response, angelic, multi-layered backing vocals working over a real garage-y/grunge-y guitar and a driving indie-pop dance beat, that sets us up for the morning after and another dawning for our heroine…

I Wish I Could Be Enough looks at the failing relationship(s) from a point of view valid on each side – the person who can’t be enough: “What’s wrong with me?” A somber pickin’ tune drawing on country roots-a-billy blues to accent the hurt and heartbreak as she realizes that the relationship she is desperately trying to cling to is in a whole lot of hurt:

I gave you all I’ve got
My sweetest every drop
Now you’ve got me wondering
What’s wrong with me
What’s wrong with me?

Again another revelation, and again the hurt builds –
Why Do Hearts Grow Cold is a pure Grand Ole Opry Country song, which one can envision a young June Carter belting out. Our lonely lover questions the state of the relationship, and between the subtle banjo pickin’ and slide guitar weeping (built around the chorus:

Why do hearts grow cold
Why does love grow old
These are things that no one ever told me
Everything begins
Then one day it ends
It’s just a very simple story

it’s clear that her romanticist view has finally realized that even though deep down in her heart her love still rings true, it may be growing cold.

So let’s check out
Gemini Guy. He’s described using a Surf/Garage/Girl group sound a la 1980. Here we have a Debra Harry/Blondie track played for all it’s worth as Mr. Gemini steps in for Mr. Midnight. But he’s not really there for her. She thinks he is, thinks him and her could hit it off well, both seem to have the same agenda, but she can’t pin him down.

Midway through this Midlife fantasy,
What the Love (Are You Gonna Do?) throws down the funk and busts it open by using a RockDownBaby meets Talking Heads meets Sly & The Family Stone with an awesome Sax break to boot. This song exposes various themes of the infidelity of the heart - the twists, the turns, the attraction, the excitement of each individual’s search for happiness in life, and the realization that all these different measures can be brought to light, but at what costs? (and we note how the musical landscape provides a perfect backing track of metaphoric delight – piece it together once the entire story is told and you’ll be amazed how music can be substituted for any of the characters here).

I got a big love and a big heart
I'm going lay it out there for you
What the love are you gonna do
What the love are you gonna do

I got a big fire that you sparked
And I think I’m lighting you up too
What the love are you gonna do
What the love are you gonna do

She needs him bad, bad, bad and here there is love involved, here it’s getting Funk-u-fied. She’s put it out there, given up and given in, it’s time to see if the emotionally damaged soul within can actually ever find the love and self-worth that have been left by the wayside for so long…

Ramblin’ Dave
shows up, messing around with her to a Southern roots rocking barn-dance-on-a-Saturday-night charmer. She falls hard but realizes that both their primary commitments will doom what they might possibly try to achieve…

You know you light me up when you look my way
Even though I know it’s a big mistake
Because there’s no good result… but there’s no escape

Maybe it’s the scenario that is the escape. Which we are reminded of by
That Moon’s Got It Made. Staying with the country flavored slide guitar work, it represents a bit of a reflective look at what the story has progressed to, envying the Moon as the metaphorical heartstring tugger . Clever word play highlights the different points of view that each song/story underlines. The sequencing here is crucial as we are reminded of the dreamlike state that introduced the story to us. Has everything that transpired so far been the real story? Or is she still within that dreamlike state and following the story her imagination, emotions, and music have laid out for her?

Best Kind of Something
bursts forth and has the barn dance a Honky-Tonkin’, filling the joint with a whooping and a howlerin’ as Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Train is heading down the track. This is an Elvis Presley Movie where they let the starlet take the mic for a song to give it to her lover boy – She’s telling him that she’s got what he wants and needs, so come and get it! – She’s taking it into her own hands – She got love for him, he’s got to understand and take it. Finally, it feels good. She’s seen the light. Having a blast, enjoying her life like she wants to. This is so much fun and she admits to becoming so lost in her daydream that it really doesn’t matter anymore, what matters is the end result and that’s the joy and happiness she’s feeling, and you know what? It is the best – the Best Kind of Something  -  but...

I heard the word. somewhere a long time ago
I got lost in a daydream, and I’m still somewhere in it, don’t you know
Oh baby..BING..BING  you ring my bell
I'd fall head over heels if I hadn't already fell.
oh yeah...

Oh yeah..., and then,
Science Fiction takes that something out into the astral plain. This is no adolescent soap opera; this is educated, world-wise adults exploring alternate pleasure routes within the limits of our earthly beings. Experimenting not with drugs, but with metaphysics, in ways that should be disproven, but when called upon within the realm of possibilities, make more and more sense with each year closer to death. So when this Classic Punk/New Wave, Garage/Grunge tune starts mowing it down with

Feel my telepathy
Feel my telepathy
Feel my telepathy

We’re buying in 100%

You Are the Sweetest Dream
brings it back down to reality and gives a ballad that does it right - Borrowing a Beth Orton style arrangement and instrumentation and delivered in a sweet Deena lower octave. Again, we are left to decide whether this heartbreaking album was all a dream or if the dream had actually been lived out (and possibly to its fullest). Either way there is a reluctance to acknowledge whether or not this has concluded or if it will continue.

The closer,
Goodbye Dreamer, says farewell. But farewell to whom? The original relationship? The Clandestine relationship? Or perhaps the dreamer herself? Has she finally found herself and the strength to carry on regardless of whatever conclusions we have drawn from her tale? The important lesson here is the journey she has taken. Whether figurative or literally, she/we have learned more about love and life through the beauty of music. somewhere in BLUE is Deena’s musical affair of the heart. Spreading the love around, so that we are once again young and joyful.

You know just what it means
This dream we have
Just want to share all the beautiful things
And make you glad
Something like this so sweet
Baby, can't be bad

deena - somewhere in BLUE
is available now for: $9.98 + s/h*

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This reviewer has known Deena Shoshkes for almost 10 years now. First introduced to her through the 1999 release Total Vegetility by her band The Cucumbers, I quickly caught up with their not-quite-illustrious but solid career of smart NJ indie pop dating back to 1982. Still releasing quality material up to and including the IndepenDisc August 2004 Feature CD All Things To You. Deena also recorded a children’s rock album in the ‘90s released as Over The Moon as well as the studio dance classic RockDownBaby in 2006, (the IndepenDisc June Feature). Now comes her first solo release simply credited as deena.

*Shipping & Handling charges:
USA - $3.00 for the first 2 CDs ordered,
                     Add $1.50 per each CD after.
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                          Add $2.00 per each CD after.
Everywhere else -$7.00 for the first CD ordered,
                                        Add $3.00 per each CD after.

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