Michelle Tumes made her name
from the ethereal beauty of her first two albums and was soon co-opted
onto a series of projects that doubled in sonic value by her gorgeous layered
Success in Nashville saw
her tempted into a pop format, so losing much of the heavenly appeal that
was her trademark. She is too talented to make a poor album, however, and
her deft way with a melody still made Dream a fine collection, but
just not as great as it could have been.
As a result, she left the
machine and – after having produced a baby – has now returned on her own
account, conducting the strings herself with husband Doug Higgins
producing. Even after her superb previous achievements, she has taken a
step forward here.
Some songs are understated
anthems that swell and fall to the rhythm of the heart. “Fair Weather”
is one of the many natural melodies. It takes off with its chorus powered
by strings that pulse and soar. Adding to its fuel are the lyrics, which
celebrate how God's love is constant, no matter how far we fall.
No matter how far Tumes
travels into mystery and atmosphere,she often manages to provide
a song that is entirely human, charming and endearing. Here that is the
innocence and joy of “Lovely Day”. But there is another kind of simplicity
at the end, when she casts off the warm covering of the rest of the
album to close with a song she wrote at seventeen, “Hold on to Jesus”.
Even though “Domine” and
“Let it Rain” have been singles, there are even better tracks here. “Gypsy
Heart” is another song that flies high in the chorus, this time with stabs
of her own harmony vocals in Enya-esque style, and the Enya appeal also
comes out on Caelus Infinitum, a song about finding a piece of heaven on
That is just how you could
describe Michelle Tumes' music.