Glenys Rogers: goatskinwishes
Glenys Rogers: "goatskinwishes"

Song List: Soul Unconditional, Your Love, Always Waiting, In Time, Manic Depression, Find Me, Tears They Wash Away, Be Still, Deliverance

In an age where Top 40 female performers often rely on a team of super-producers' post-production magic, voice pitch shifters and surgically enhanced beauty to attain success it is refreshing to find a woman whose music and presence are all natural. Glenys Rogers made a name for herself as a backing vocalist and drummer on Tracy Chapman's tour in support of the triple platinum New Beginning album. More recently Glenys has lent her vocal and percussive talents to Beck, Mickey Hart and Jackson Browne, touring steadily over the past few years. In 1999, between rigorous road stints, she wrote, recorded and produced her debut album goatskinwishes-nine songs showcasing her soulful, angelic voice, marking an important change in her career from an in-the-wings touring musician to an undeniable band leader and front woman.

Goatskinwishes transitions effortlessly among alternative and soul sub-genres: "In Time more Sade-esque in its electro-satin smoothness, "Always Waiting" a predecessor of the neo-acousti-soul sound India.Arie has since popularized. An unexpected twist to the album is a slightly laid back funk-powered rendition of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression," featuring mind-blowing solos by guest guitarist Linda Taylor. "LT brings to the song as much Vernon Reid as Hendrix, giving it an updated intensity without taking away the essence of the original. Not until the next-to-last track is there a prominent display of Glenys' percussive abilities (she has since hinted that future albums would incorporate much more percussion). In the outro of "Be Still" she solos on the talking drum, an instrument on which she honed her skills while performing with Awe's Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble.

Glenys moved from her home in California, away from the financially alluring temptations of studio and touring gigs, to New Orleans in search of peace, quiet and time-to focus on herself and her songwriting. Once settled, she put together a new band and began to perform, hocking the sounds of goatskinwishes around the city. The response has been nothing short of wonderful. Her newly formed connections led to her recording soundtrack music for "Daddy & Papa," an independent documentary film featured at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, an interview with DrummerGirl.com and coveted performing slots at the 2003 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the 2003 Essence Festival (the latter being at the Louisiana Superdome playing before Stevie Wonder).

Having released goatskinwishes in 1999, what is it about this album that warrants attention in late 2003? Well, timing is everything. Soon after goatskin's release Glenys took to the road, again supporting another rather than herself (who would turn down Beck's offer of a spot in his band for the Midnight Vultures world tour?) It is only now that she has a chance to support her album how she'd intended to four years ago. But Glenys is not at all resting on her past accomplishments. Fans waiting for the follow-up to goatskinwishes will not have to wait much longer. Glenys has spent the past year recording and writing, promising to put out a record that takes the best aspect of the first and elevate them to new heights-more of her voice, more percussion and a more personal connection through her lyrics and music. And unlike the magic worked on the album of some of her contemporaries the next Glenys Rogers album will be real-no studio magic, no post-recording brush-ups and no trick photography-all her, 100% natural.

Reviewed on 10/13/03