Although not mentioned among the most well-known songwriters, SCOTT FULLER and CECILY GARDNER are really skilled within the westcoast/soul genre. The lovely label Contante y Sonante now release the "Original demos" album with 12 songs by this songwriting duo. And, it should be underlined directly: the awesome WARREN WIEBE is involved on four songs with his unforgettable voice.
Stylewise it ranges somewhere between BOBBY CALDWELL, BILL LABOUNTY, DAVID FOSTER and the previous Contante y Sonante artist (songwriter) STEVE DORFF. One thing struck me at once when I started listening: Fuller's keyboard sounds and arrangements are exactly the way we want them to be! Warm 80's sounding keyboards with lots of rather jazzy vibes but still within that certain pop and soul tinged westcoast mode.
The CD kicks off with two real strong tracks; the Caldwell sounding "17 years" and "Slip away" (one of my favourite tunes!) with a great beat and cool arrangements. I think of BILL CHAMPLIN, AL JARREAU and LABOUNTY here, which ain't bad! Wiebe and Gardner share lead vocals on this one, as they also do in "Nothing that I wouldn't do". That song is like a perfect marriage between David Foster and Bill Labounty. Wiebe sings lead in the final track "This blue tattoo", while Cecily sings lead on the remaining songs. And if you're hesitant about her voice - don't be! You have a wonderful voice to discover here, mark my words. Sometimes I think of BRENDA RUSSELL when I hear her - however, Cecily never falls out of tune!
Since this is a collection of demos, one must accept that we get a production and sound that you can expect from demo recordings. Still, I must say the sound and production is impressive. Inevitably, there are some ingredients to wish for. More guitars for example, since that would spice it up and also bring some nice crunch to the music. There is a very good guitar solo by BILL SCHREY in the aforementioned opening track. Apart from that, there is only guitars added on two other songs, which is sad. It gets a little too "empty" at times, without the guitars.
Oh, how I wish that Contante y Sonante would release more albums than they do. This Gardner & Fuller album is only their seventh full length release since the start in 2004! There must be many dozens of westcoast artists out there with their closets full of unreleased material, worthy of seeing the daylight on today's AOR and westcoast labels. This Spanish label is very professional and only release classy stuff.