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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 14, 2006

ISLAND SOUNDS
Romantic ballads, indie rock, spirituals to suit your taste

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

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A former Miss Hawai'i showcases a parcel of romantic songs and a voice suited for the stage. But will she fly with her love ballads?

An indie rocker has been bouncing under the radar for a few months now, but his debut CD could be fueled with more liner information.

And for a spiritual lift, a group of locals sing the praises of the Lord.

"A CHANGE IN ME" BY CANDES MEIJIDE GENTRY; CGM RECORDS

  • Genre: Contemporary.

  • Distinguishing notes: She sounds as pretty as she looks. And Candes Meijide Gentry, the 1999 Miss Hawai'i who opts to go by a single name, Candes, on her debut disc, has a powerful voice well-suited for the performing stage. Romantic songs work very well for her, and the CD has them. Joey Caldarone drops in for a duet on "Take Me as I Am"; instrumental support (and, no doubt, guidance and shaping of the tunes) is credited to pianist Laurence Paxton and engineer Pierre Grill. "All That Jazz" and "El Dia Que Me Quieras" provide variety in the repertoire.

  • The outlook: While an endearing keepsake of Candes' show-tune prowess, and with sweetness and desire to spare, the disc likely will have difficulty getting air play. She needs to take on a stage musical here or elsewhere, for that matter to expand her horizon and audience base.

  • Our take: A valid voice, an auspicious debut; the challenge is to find an audience.

    "Popular" by Candes. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

    "POSSIBILITIES" BY HARRISON; LONE TOMATO PRODUCTIONS

  • Genre: Indie rock.

  • Distinguishing notes: The look is spartan; the CD doesn't come in a customary plastic case (it's cardboard), and liner notes (a sheet or a folded booklet) that would introduce the band are sorely missing. Harrison, then, is all about the music hard rock, mild rock, '80s rock, delivered with flair by a four-member, single-monickered group (members are Martin, Miles, Christine and Randall). The tunes are original, the sound reflective of recent times and familiar groups (The Police, Metallica, perhaps Van Halen and Van Morrison, too?) and the eclectic and occasional electric fare is quite charming and engaging. So you can't judge a CD by its humble packaging. Martin and Miles sing and play guitar, Christine dwells on bass and Randall provides the drum backbeat. Tunes such as "Star," "Falling Down," "Possibilities" and "Before the Night Is Over" are helping to establish the combo. So to explore who's who and what's what, go to www.harrisonsound.com, where you can scope out the band and sample the tunes.

  • The outlook: Earnest and refreshing, in every aspect of an indie outing; what the group needs is a push and some publicity.

  • Our take: Happily, some folks keep the rock rolling instead of hopping onto the reggae bandwagon.

    "Silence 3 Waste Away" by Harrison. Audio sample available in mp3 format.

    "POWERPRAISE! HAWAII" BY VARIOUS ARTISTS; POWERPRAISE PUBLISHING

  • Genre: Christian music.

  • Distinguishing notes: Producer Orlando Tumacder composed all the selections here, a few in collaboration with the performers who generally are presented as an ensemble. The singers are Jan Shima, Kanoe Gibson, Clint Torres and Donny and Norris Alaiasa; the selections are inspirational and praise the Almighty. Several cuts stand out: "Lord of Lords," "Rejoice" and "Lifter of My Head." There's an air of belief, joy and celebration in the combined voices.

  • The outlook: Shared sentiments from a crop of earnest singers.

  • Our take: Those who seek spirituality will find this one offers lifts galore.

    Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.