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Monica Behan: Right Where I Need to Be

Jim Olin By

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Drawing upon the wistful beauty of Joni Mitchell and the confessional ache of Carole King, Monica Behan's voice commands immediate attention. There is an ethereal quality to her singing that illuminates track after track on her new album Right Where I Need to Be. No matter what genre she decides to explore, from vocal jazz to acoustic pop, Behan's vocals defy gravity and lift off into the heavens.

On the opening tune, "Time to Fly," it is Behan's vocals that soar through the skies. The dreamy playfulness of her voice, reminiscent of Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays, is already a hook; it mesmerizes the ears, an ethereal croon that quickly casts a hypnotic spell. "Traveling along, moving with grace/The winds are not so heavy now," Behan sings, breathing an air of blissful liberation as co-producer Clarence Penn's plush synths provide a comforting undertow. "Time to Fly" is about renewal, finding inner peace and emotional strength after a romantic split, a theme that haunts other songs on the record.

The gorgeous balladry of "I Wanna Love You Like That" recalls the wind-swept acoustic pop of early '70s AM radio. Daniel Jobim lends his soulful baritone in this bittersweet duet. Behan's honey-warm singing and Jobim's midnight-hour vocals are mesmerizing in their back and forth. Chris Bruce's crystalline guitar on "Truer Than Blue" highlights Behan's folk roots in dazzling fashion. Behan's cover of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," a Broadway classic later popularized by the Platters, is downright startling. Accompanied just by keyboards and drums, Behan's incandescent voice takes center stage, fragile and intimate. Pristine production from Penn and Grammy winner Russ Titelman deliver the clarity and shine needed to plumb the depths of Behan's singing and writing. The result is a magnificent balance of art and pop.

Track Listing: Time to Fly; The Other Woman; I Wanna Love You Like That; Downtown; Everybody's Hooked; Meet Me in Mahattan; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Truer Than Blue; This Girl's in Love With You; Right Where I Need to Be.

Personnel: Monica Behan: vocals; Daniel Jobim: vocals (2); Clarence Penn: production, synth programming, string arrangement, drums and percussion; Loston Harris: keyboards, Wurlitzer piano, piano, synth; Gregoire Maret: harmonica solo; Noah Hoffeld: cello; Sara Caswell: violin; Karen Waltuch: viola; James Genus: bass; Ira Siegal: guitar; Rob Mounsey: synth keyboard; Kenny Rampton: trumpet; Mike Davis: trombone; Rob Wilkerson: alto sax, clarinet, flute; John Ellis: clarinet, flute; Richard Miller: guitar; Chris Bruce: guitar; Megan Gould: violin; Joe Locke: vibraphone solo; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Mike Rodriguez: trumpet; Chad Leftkowitz-Brown: saxophone; Andrew Gould: saxophone; Bret Zvacek: string and horn arrangement; Russ Titelman: production.

Title: Right Where I Need to Be | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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