Wendy Conrad,
Ghosts That Aren't Mine
(self-produced, 1998)

Ghosts That Aren't Mine is the premiere album for singer-songwriter Wendy Conrad. This doesn't sound like a freshman effort. There's a certain quality in her voice that exudes experience, as if she's been recording albums for years. She's got a passionate style of singing while emoting, not unlike an early Melissa Etheridge or the Indigo Girls. That may be the rough area of her style, but she's got her own musical space.

Most of the songs take a slower pace but don't succumb to a lethargic level. She manages to mix subtlety with intensity that makes each song uplifting despite the slower tempo. Whether it's the echoing melody of "Murphy Has a Law," the infectious chorus of impossible in "Love Like Ours" or the longing in "Remember," each song has a subtext of hope. It is the juxtaposition of a slow musical pace, deep emotions and underlying faith that strengthens the entire album.

While each song is deserving of compliments, "Colorado" is hands-down the best on the album. The lyrics are graceful yet intense, creating various emotions with vivid metaphorical images. Conrad's strong voice manages to create a soft, sympathetic tone. There's one particular instance that is aurally riveting. She carries a note that skates the line of being off-key yet manages to grab the corresponding notes by their throats. Every note, every syllable has a purpose in this song.

This is definitely a mellow album loaded with talent that requires attention. Yes, there are a lot of albums out there that have similar requirements; however, give this one some of your down time. In a crowded music market, there's always room for a gal with a robust voice like Wendy Conrad's.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 1 February 2003