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CD Reviews: Terra Naomi
Terra Naomi: Live and Free
January 2005
By: Marco Nieves
album cover of Terra Naomi's Live and Free

I opened the package I received today from Terra Naomi to find two samplers, one studio and one live, Live And Free. Atwitter, I play them immediately for I was in a rush and the amount of time I had was just about exactly how long it would take to listen to the seven songs that the samplers amounted to. After a good listen I realize right then that Terra Naomi has sent me a sonic bomb in the mail and every listen gets more explosive, more intimate, more gut-wrenching, all because she's singing about the hurt and the love that is the architect of true poets. And now it's my time to leave, and the taste her music has left has no pharmaceutical remedy, the ardor that these samplers carry is contagious and resolute. All through the rest of the night I kept recollecting melodies and lyrics and it was unquestionable that Terra triumphed.

In the studio sampler she deploys a band that exalts her messages, but doesn't smother her. In The Game Changed a seismic arrangement is created that ensorcels the listener into a state of awe with lyrics that can break the toughest of hearts. In the song I Still Love You her voice is virtuosic as she repeats I still love you piercing you with shocking voltage. Throughout the sampler the band dazzles and alarms, but it's her voice that will warn you that there is no turning the CD player off until she has managed to show you all of her injuries and how secure it is that she doesn't need a healer. She flourishes even moreso once the pain tries to hold her back. In the live sampler it's just Terra and her piano. You would think the intensity would subdue, but it gets stronger. Her soulful voice is ravishing once more, versatile and beautiful. The chemistry with both the piano and the audience is a musical juggernaut. Her lyrical wit can make the songs playful and humorous (The Vicodin Song) as much as serious and tender (New Song). It ends with Terra saying to the audience "I have another song for you," and I find myself wishing the sampler could go on so I can listen to it as well, but sadly, it doesn't.

Overall, these two samplers are a cohesion of ramificating power and while we're all bound to suffer from being overexposed to artists that sing too many songs that say nothing at all, artists like Terra come around to show us what real music is all about.