Sherwood strikes gold with new CD
A treasure of a song entitled Be Fabulous is proof that Bermuda singer-songwriter Val Sherwood has struck gold with her new CD release.
Be Fabulous is both the title of the album, and the ninth of the 12 tracks. It is likely to induce tears of compassion in some and maybe jolt a few consciences.
Make no mistake, there areplenty of other reasons to like about the new CD release from Bermudas Val Sherwood, from the celebration of the Island in Colours of Bermuda to the chug-a-long Railway Trail Song and the Shania Twain-esque Good for the Soul.
However, the heart-tugging Be Fabulous is remarkable, tackling the plight of homeless cats from the perspective of a tabby facing the feline world's Death Row.
It takes gifted songwriting and empathy to deliver a powerful emotional punch, such as can be found on 'Be Fabulous'. Couple the evocative lyrics with Ms Sherwood's assured singing and the result is a standout track on a delightful album of Bermuda songs.
Ms Sherwood is a seasoned singer-songwriter and guitarist. She began playing guitar aged eight and has honed her skills to become one of the Island's best known acoustic/folk performers.
In the 1980s she was an opening act for folk legend Ralph McTell at the Bermuda Folk Club. Her original song 'You Were Easy' was included in a 1982 folk club album and was released again on her debut CD in 2004.
For many years her recorded songs have garnered radio airplay, and she was a featured artist on the 'Ride the Wave 2' compilation CD in 2011, singing 'For So Long', which is included on her new CD.
Three years in the making, Ms Sherwood describes Be Fabulous as a song collection for people who have lived a bit. It has something for everyone.
Bermuda features prominently, no more so than on the track 'Colours of Bermuda', which is a loving ode to the Island.
It is geared towards tourism. I wrote it in 2009 during the Islands 400th anniversary, said Ms Sherwood. The song has the potential to become a signature tune for the Island. A slide show video has been created to accompany it.
Ms Sherwoods clear singing voice, strongly reminiscent of Joan Baez on many songs, sparkles throughout. And the different moods and styles to be found on Be Fabulous keep things fresh and buzzing.
Aside from Ms Sherwood there is a wealth of musical talent on the album, including harmonica players Neil Burnie and Eddie Wicks, guitarists David Fitzsimmons and Whency Woolridge and musical arranger and collaborator John Woolridge, who worked on all the tracks.
I feel very privileged to have had the talents of these people helping to make the CD happen, said Ms Sherwood. Im thrilled that Bermuda has the quality of people to create this level of recording.
Her debut 2004 CD Never Tell Them Why was half-filled with love songs and soft folk-rock. There is greater diversity on Be Fabulous.
Ms Sherwood explains: The songs here are more about hope, faithfulness and love coming back.
Going Back To South Africa is about hope, about someone going back to visit a former partner. It is very positive. Im Not Comfortable With Crime is a social song.
Maximize is a song about the women-only Curves fitness studio, while Railway Trail Song tells the history of Bermudas short-lived train service and the subsequent conversion of the old track into nature trails. Ms Sherwood was involved in the development of the trailway and remembers the key players Major John Carswell and Dewey Marquardt who played important roles turning the disused tracks into the public trailway of today. Both men are name-checked in the song.
The aforementioned title track Be Fabulous draws on Ms Sherwoods love of cats and her many years of involvement with the Bermuda Feline Assistance Bureau. At home she has six adopted cats — the ones, she says, that could not find homes.
The album as a whole has an upbeat mood which perfectly reflects much of Bermudas beauty and spirit.
Be Fabulous can be purchased at Music Box in Hamilton, and also by contacting Ms Sherwood through her own website: www.val.bm
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