Lydia Salnikova – New Heart (2014, EP)

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Lydia Salnikova has longed specialized in personal songs, mostly about relationships set in a melancholy mood. But this confessional singer-songwriter from Knoxville, Tennessee now has more reason to be confessional and even more to cheer up.

Inspired by her first pregnancy and all the eager anticipation that goes along with it, Salnikova has dashed off twenty-one minutes of new music, packaged as an EP. New Heart, on sale November 6, 2014, departs from her two albums with a higher ‘chipper’ quotient as well as the shorter length, and that’s understandable. Instead of winding up and making an entire album that would arrive much later, she struck while the iron is hot.

Upholding the higher standards of adult contemporary rock of its 70s-80s heyday, New Heart is treated with the same parental care she’s devoted to her prior projects. Once again handling nearly all the chores of bringing a project from conception to birth, only Wayland Patton’s guitar and backing vocals on a few of the tracks are sounds not coming from her.

Thus, this love letter to her unborn child (who arrived in September, by the way) is on a new topic, but she devotes all her old strengths toward it. Beginning with the titular track, she eases out a memorable melody, a gently churning rhythm and her commanding voice softly soaring above it. Her ability to breezily turn a phrase is intact, too: “we’re adding a thread to the fabric of life,” she enthuses.

Other songs are written as lullabies, including, obviously, “Forest Lullaby,” an easy-to-follow figure over a waltz and a clean production. The song is later performed again, with Patton providing the acoustic guitar accompaniment and Salnikova singing it in her native Russian (“Lesnaya Kolibelnaya”).

“Sam,” named after her newborn, has no lyrics but Salnikova conveys her emotions through her piano, and like her voice, it sounds personal, fluid and thoughtful.

Lydia Salnikova shares her new delight with New Heart, a smaller arrival than usual, but another bundle of joy nevertheless.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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