It is fair to say that Josephine Foster’s musical career has only varied slightly so far. Her songs are mostly based on poems by Emily Dickinson, children’s songs or traditional Spanish melodies. I’m a Dreamer draws a similarly dark veil, making for an experience that is wonderfully old-fashioned.
Written and recorded for another time, Foster’s album seems best suited by a turntable, rather than something so modern as Mp3 — or even compact disc. It’s a sound rooted in the past, especially in the 1920s or ’30s, a period that it seems Foster would feel more than at home. If you can, listen on vinyl, because the warm sound and crackling of the album adds just the right throwback atmosphere to her music.
Songs like “Blue Roses” or “Cabin in the Sky” are haunting ballads sung by a real mistress of her craft. Foster has a very special voice, though perhaps not to everybody’s taste. For those who are open to its charms, though, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment — suffering with her, identifying deeply with her stories.
The magic of I’m a Dreamer is in its finely detailed composition and execution. It’s a demonstration of musical knowledge, and of confidence in general.
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