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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, November 16, 2007

ISLAND SOUNDS
Tiffany Thurston's 'L.I.F.E' radiates warmth, joy

By Wayne Harada

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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"L.I.F.E." by Tiffany Thurston; Thurston Pacific Inc.

  • Genre: World music.

  • Distinguishing notes: Tiffany "Spiff" Thurston, a one-time Honolulu-based singer who now works the stages of the world, makes her CD debut with a mix of tunes about love that certainly should find favor wherever she tours. There's a spot of jazz, blues, soul, folk and pop; she wrote all but one of the 12 tracks, so this a personal project. (The CD should hit stores next week.)

    The tune that's percolating attention is "Freeway," a soft-rock item about journeying on the road kind of symbolic of her personal treks. Her grip on shifting musical gears makes her a serious player on the musical landscape.

    "Sunshine" radiates with quiet and personal joy my favorite in Thurston's "L.I.F.E." as her powerful, pliable voice embraces the poetry she's created. The experience is warm and satisfying, with a positive spin. "You are the sunshine of my life," she sings. Fans will listen and link up.

    Leon Russell's familiar "A Song for You" has nocturnal, smoke-filled-room ambiance, with its brooding and soulful reading and it could be a door-opener for folks who prefer a tune they know.

    "Sorry" has a deliberate folk flavor, dominated by guitar accompaniment, and the tune asks forgiveness sorry being one of the most difficult words to express in a moment of duress.

    Thurston co-produced with the savvy Dave Tucciarone, who also engineered the session. One negative: no lyrics in the packaging.

  • Our take: Thurston's "L.I.F.E." shares L.O.V.E. with earnest resourcefulness.

    Sample song: "Refuge" by Tiffany Thurston

    "Making Up for Lost Time" by Allan Thomas; Black Bamboo

  • Genre: World music,

  • Distinguishing notes: Allan Thomas is a Hanalei, Kaua'i-based music industry veteran with Mainland credentials and ties to the Island scene.

    Like others in the biz, Thomas taps his pals to sit in on this recording, so Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) and Tris Imboden (Chicago) on the national scene and Bryan Kessler (Hawaiian Style Band) and Ken Emerson and Michael Ruff on the local front chime in.

    Thomas' work is comforting and assured; his storytelling shines and is best demonstrated on entries such as "Leap of Faith," "How Long Till Light," "Ray of Hope" and "Rapture in the Rain," the last tune traced to a wet season in Ha'ena.

    The song orientation is mainstream pop for a global audience. All but one song was written by Thomas on Kaua'i from 1988 to 2006, so it's not unusual to read a local temperament in the compositions; he likes to think he's providing R&B with an Island (read: tropical) spin.

    The session was recorded at Kilauea, and the CD packaging is filled with Hawai'i elements, including a painted cover with surf and palms.

  • Our take: Make an effort to spend "Time" with Thomas.

    Sample song: "Ray of hope" by Allan Thomas

    "The Rebirth: Chapter One" by various artists; Rushouze

  • Genre: Compilation of world music, reggae.

  • Distinguishing notes: Under the Rushouze Entertainment umbrella of Kauila Pimentel and Brian Cabatu, 11 acts earn a slot for CD exposure. The fare, mostly with reggae undercurrents or world music posture, is radio-friendly.

    Jonna Ahn's "Dance With Me," Janell Crabral's "Baby Girl," Chelsea La'anui's "Pay Attention" and U'ilani Laboy's "Faith in Me" are delights with dance-floor potential.

    Each generation breeds a "Pakalolo" novelty, and Mike Stewart provides one here.

    The guy goodies include Herschel Nunies' "Road of Love," "Junior Lacuesta's "Touch the Ground" and Dezman's "Don't Worry."

  • Our take: A convenient mixed plate that elevates what's brewing among the up-and-coming who wouldn't normally get CD exposure.

    Sample song: "Here with me" by Rushouze Allstars

    Reach Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.