Feel Good Album: Donna Lewis' Be Still

Donna Lewis' third album, Be Still, is the first she independently released. It is also her most subtle, and its feel-good quality is a quiet one--more like a an afternoon with a cup of tea rather than a night out dancing. The LP sides with her ambient tendencies and features her most subtle productions, most of the tracks built out of breathy layered vocals and piano. As a result, the effort's ten songs traffic a gentleness that allows their melodies and Lewis' voice to sit front and center.

The album does have some particularly fine pop moments, especially "Ireland," "Pink Dress," and "Moonbeam." The first two tracks were remixed with heavier productions for Lewis' follow-up, In the Pink, but "Ireland" and "Pink Dress" shine in their softer iterations, which suit their joyous celebration of nature and nostalgia. "Moon Beam" has similar charms. As a love song, it praise-fully swells with layered voices in the chorus to create one of Lewis' finer recording moments. The singer closes the record with the title track--a piano ballad about being patient; the track could easily be read as the reflection of a pop star letting go of the whirlwind caused by success.

Lewis could likely have never made this record within the confines of the major label system. Yet free of such confines, she created the most clearly distilled representation of her gifts. As she is the only songwriter, the sole producer, and (with minor exceptions on two tracks) the only performer on the record, Be Still is pure Donna Lewis. Considering her talents, it is a pleasure and comfort from beginning to end. 

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