I keep reading reviews which compare Carolee Rainey’s sound to Fleetwood Mac in general and Stevie Nick’s in particular. And whilst there is something in the voice which connects the two women, I think that they are missing the most obvious point. Yes, there is a Fleetwood Mac connection but Feel Fearless sounds, stylistically at least, more like Christine Perfect, had she taken a more countrified path, rather than that of her chosen commercial blues.
Yes, everyone wants to sound like Nicks but Perfect has always been the much more interesting musician, her more exploratory works overshadowed by the cash cow leviathan that is the women’s musical day job. Nicks has always played with drama and anthemic poise, Perfect is all about subtlety and that is what is going on here.
Opening salvo Deal With The Devil, could easily have come from the sessions which resulted in Rumours, I’ll admit that, but after that the rest of the album largely settles down into more restrained territory. Mystic Rose is a country, piano-ballad, driven on voice and sentiment more than instrumentation with just the most subtle of riffs and sonic motifs decorating around the edges and Feel and Listen To The River almost cross over into Kate Bush territory in their off-beat dynamics and left field approaches. Empower is the really interesting one here, a rumbling, tribal, bluesy groover all about the message and unhindered by anything that would get it the way of driving the point home.
Feel Fearless is a clever collection of songs, seeming to taking dummy runs into fairly mainstream territory but then side-stepping into much more interesting musical spaces. It has something to say lyrically and plenty to give musically and if other reviews suggest that Carolee Rainey is just walking in the shoes of Stevie Nicks, ignore them, there is, thankfully, more going on here than that suggests. Much more.