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Moonlight Dreams
Bob Mackenzie, Soundbytes, Canada

Moonlight Dreams provides a classy setting which allows this former diamond in the rough to shine. There is a cohesiveness of sound and content to Moonlight Dreams that one rarely hears in releases by so-called singer/songwriters. The sound is full and rich, the music moving and well arranged, and the lyrics evocative stories drawn from the real world in which we live. The songs here are so consistent that without looking it is impossible to tell which lyrics were written by Crete and which by O'Neill.

As a songwriter, Crete captures the characteristic spirit of Irish music, the essence that makes it both vital and unique, so that, while her songs are written in Ontario, they are unmistakably Irish.

Moonlight Dreams is rich and orchestral, its arrangements bordering on lush and the songs beautifully matched to one another. Where the music before was clearly folky, this new release has moved forward and expanded so that, while still folk-music, it has a broader, more universal sense to it and a more pop sensibility. Now the music is not so much Joni Mitchell as it is Aaron Copland, full and powerful. The arrangements here far better suit Crete's writing and her voice.

Crete has grown vocally too. Here is a strong, confident, and eloquent voice. More often than not, especially in "Everywhere I Go" and "Leaving Old Ireland," Crete's voice and her singing style reminds me of Linda Ronstadt at her best. Somewhere in there can also be heard the influences of Judy Collins and perhaps Sandy Denny. Crete's melodies and the way she approaches her lyrics also bring to mind the work of Susan Jacks. What's important though, is that this is no new singer echoing her influences but a maturing artist who has found her own unique voice.

If Nonie Crete has grown this much in just one year, expect her to be an influential force in Canadian folk music for years to come.

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