In her eclectic debut CD 'Panoramic,' Nora Paoli displays impressive facility as a songwriter, guitarist, and singer. The 12 song album showcases 11 original pieces and one striking reworking of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow,' all sung in Ms. Paoli's incredible, bell-clear voice. The songwriter, originally a New Jersey native who received her music degree at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, also plays acoustic and electric guitars on the album. Paoli didn't tackle her recording project alone. A number of top notch musicians from the Twin Cities join her on 'Panoramic.' These include bassist Joan Griffith, clarinetist Mark Henderson, guitar and songwriting ace Ben Connelly, and the dance band extraordinaire Pigs Eye Landing. 'I've always played my songs solo but that wasn't necessarily the way I heard them in my head. I'd be playing along and thinking ok, here's where the trumpet comes in, BIG drum entrance here, etc. A few songs on my CD I've actually never performed live because I felt like I couldn't give them what they needed playing by myself. So, it's so cool to finally give them a life of their own.' 'Panoramic' takes you many different places both musically and emotionally, from a regretful bride's comic lament, to an ode to the joys of food, love, and music, to the poignant details of winter in a northern town, Paoli surprises us by varying her instrumentation on every song. A mournful cello accompanies a contemplation on keepsakes and loss in 'Saving,' while jangly guitarwork shines in the pop-ish '4 Seconds of Silence.' Listeners may be surprised by Paoli's treatment of Harold Arlen's classic, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' She says, 'I was reading about the late Eva Cassidy and one reviewer raved about her interpretation of Somewhere..and said that she practically rewrote the song. I had never heard her version but I wondered what that would sound like, so I wrote my own. I get some interesting reactions, everthing from 'what a cool new version!' to 'HOW could you mess with Somewhere..?!?' Well, a little controversy can be a good thing.' 'Panoramic' shows an amazing breadth in style. Paoli deftly moves from catchy pop to folkish ballads to bluesy 'front porch' tunes. With her formal music training she's not afraid to throw in jazz chords and sophisticated fingerstyle guitar work. Tying it all together is her lovely voice. Paoli sings with a warmth and sincerity that immediately takes you along with her into her songs. 'I've always loved to sing any kind of vocal music. My classical friends just tolerate the popular music I'm into, and vice-versa. But I don't care, I like it all.'
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