Natalie Cressman & Mike Bono: Etchings in Amber
2016: cressman music
Mike Bono on Acoustic Guitar
Natalie Cressman on Vocals
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 14, 2016
This CD for duo New York performers, Mike Bono on acoustic guitar and Natalie Cressman on vocals, is bountiful in languorous, lilting melodies. Six tracks are composed by the team and three by Ms. Cressman alone. The album sweeps the listener into its calming, breathy tonality, evocative of the breezy evening, folk festival songs of the 1960’s. An album insert, with transcribed lyrics in calligraphy, offers an option to sing or read along. This duo has arranged and produced the album, with recording, editing, and pre-mixing by Natalie’s father, Jeff, a jazz trombonist and a member of Santana. Since this is streamlined musicality, not backed by percussion or a band, each artist’s talent shines through with wistful translucence.
#1 – Dusk – Composed by Bono / Cressman. This first track opens with Mr. Bono’s exotic guitar refrains, before Ms. Cressman stretches her key tonalities for resonant effect. Their musical echoes linger in the air with peaceful quietude, “She’s close enough to call his bluff, yet love holds up”.
#4 – I Look to You – Composed by N. Cressman. This lush new ballad blends one verse into the next, building momentum and magnetism throughout, with a special refrain, “I look to you, Fingers that paint all pains away, Laminate every word I say, Not to be lost in folds of time, So it’s easy to rewind.” .
#5 – Picture – Composed by Bono / Cressman. Once again, a soft, eloquent tune, with ambient guitar. Ms. Cressman sometimes blends her vocals into Mr. Bono’s guitar theme, and sometimes she contrasts their musical conversation with overlapping harmonies, “One last goodbye, I hold in my sigh, I see you there in your frame, Gone while I still remain”.
#8 – Losing Grace – Composed by N. Cressman. Both guitarist and vocalist twist the thematic tones from melodic to atonal in the moment, giving Ms. Cressman’s lyrics a showcase. Those combined tones are dulcet with yearning lyrics, “The truths whispered in the wind and broke my fever, Abandoned lace stamped with soil to remind…”.