Music review: Brianna Gosse - Aera

A confident, polished debut from St. John's singer Gosse, a ridiculously talented 20-year old who has been building her skills for the past couple of years, since surfacing at the ECMA's in Halifax in March of 2013. Her only issue is which road to follow. Her strong and dulcet voice lends itself to jazz, soul, alt-pop, even old parlour tunes. If somebody in the fame game grabbed her, they'd quickly market her as the new Adele, but she has a lot more to offer than that. These are her own songs, and the variety shows love and excitement of lots of styles as she opens her career.

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Working with fellow Newfoundlander Chris Kirby as producer, there is some of his trademark horn and keyboard-fired soul here, but wisely Kirby use his influence too much. Better In The Clouds is fun, with a reggae groove and a ukulele for the chords. That uke seems to be her favourite instrument, showing up again as the lone instrument on Try, with a soaring and sweet vocal, the kind of number that gets quickly snatched up for a commercial or soundtrack number. On the closer Alright Here, a more mellow and thoughtful pop ballad, it fits in well with the rich harmony and easy-going groove. This Is It is a waltz-time drama, but with some smart updates, including a nasty guitar solo. On the flip side, Travelling Show features a Dixieland arrangement, and flapper-fun singing. She follows that up with some tougher-edged pop on You Fall First, and then more light-hearted and quirky on Let Me Love You.

So, that's a lot of musical bases covered, a distinct and very pleasing voice, and even a charming and different solo style, doing some of the songs on ukulele. At her age, she has lots of talent and lots of time to figure out where to go next. Or maybe she'll just keep trying it all, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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