Canadian Brenda Earle Stokes is, at once, a pianist, vocalist, composer, and educator, not to mention a wife and mother. From this crowded life, she has managed five recordings to her credit, including the well-received Song for a New Day (Self Produced, 2009) and Right About Now (Magenta Label Group, 2014), and the present, Solo Sessions, Volume 1. Solo Sessions puts Stokes in her most intimate format, one that she mentions is a bit daunting. That is something to consider. When playing solo and playing and singing solo the challenge is real to keep the festivities between the ditches.
Which is no problem for Stokes. Her command of the keyboard and her voice and the relationship between them is keen. She sings and plays with a gleeful authority that is infectious and can readily be heard on "Weaver of Dreams" and Steve Swallow/Norma Winstone composition "Ladies in Mercedes." She reveals her hidden handle on the blues with a barrelhouse rendition of Leroy Carr's "How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone," and her contemporary sense of humor on Huey Lewis and the News' "Power of Love." Stokes displays her compositional skills on the thoughtful ballad "Standing" while adding her introspective lyrics to Christian Tamburr's "The Waltz." When a recording is as fine as this, nothing is more welcome than seeing "Volume 1" in the title. That means there is more to come.
If You Never Come to Me; Standing; Weaver of Dreams; The Consequences of
Falling; Ladies in Mercedes; I Can Let Go Now; Strange Meadowlark; The Power of
Love; The Waltz; East of the Sun (West of the Moon).