There is an enchantment about Annie Haslam that very few people find escapable. Her infectious laugh, her adoring smile and her immense talents have kept her in the forefront of both the progressive music world and, more recently, the art world. As the lead singer of the enormously popular ’70s band Renaissance she gained legions of devoted fans all over the world with her five octaves and angelic delivery of some of that period’s finest music. After musical styles shifted and Renaissance split up she enjoyed a highly successful solo career releasing nine solo records and recording with such musical luminaries as Roy Wood, Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues and Steve Howe of Yes. Her most recent release, Woman Transcending is a collection of rare recordings from her musical journey from the ’70s and throughout the ’90s. As Annie states, “This collection of songs was recorded at various times and in different countries, and because of this, the sound quality will vary a little… but I feel this adds to the emotion and beauty of this CD.” As with any personal scrapbook covering twenty years gone by, some of the memories can appear a little rough around the edges but with Woman Transcending some of the less polished tracks come off as the most poignant. One song in particular, a duet with Annie’s late brother Michael on the beautiful “Somewhere Out There” first grabs the listener by the heart and then the throat as the song’s message takes on a whole new meaning with his passing on. There are many different styles of song and production throughout the record and those changes make you feel as if you are indeed on a journey alongside Annie. The country flavorings on “So Sad” written by Don Everly of The Everly Brothers and “‘Beyond The Blue” co-written by the legendary Carl Perkins and his sons and
daughter, add such a different side to what we’ve come to expect from
this glorious songstress.
These are only a few of the surprises here on this wonderful
retrospective. “Lily’s in the Field,” which she co-wrote with Steve Howe and
who appears on guitar, is both a beautiful tribute and plea for the
orphans of in Sarajevo. Annie’s musical embrace carries the message to
these innocent victims of war that hopefully one day they will be able
to run through the fields and play like children of the free world. It
is a very moving moment on a record filled with heartfelt remembrances
as well as eternal and maternal hope.
Annie Haslam: www.anniehaslam.com