Christina Gaudet Releases “Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey”
Blues rocker extraordinaire Christina Gaudet takes the listener to a New York state-of-mind and then some in the jumping, riveting album Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey. A dizzying spell of blues riffs, fashionable percussion and Gaudet’s blistering yet smooth vocal delivery, Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey is an incredible mix of rock, blues, a dash of Americana and all that makes music so worthwhile. From the opener “New York City” to the inspiring “Living It Till I Die” to the closer, “New Renaissance” Gaudet drills a stake in the ground that she is one of music’s most eclectic and powerful female voices. No matter the genre, no matter the song, Gaudet has the listener transported to a whole new level of musicality in these awesome 10 tracks.
In “New York City” Gaudet quickly establishes the pallet from which her sound expands from. In many ways this is the song that also starts out the story – it sets the scene. While Manhattan Oz is not labeled a concept album, there is a definite theme and perhaps stream of conscience that Gaudet deploys. Already in this song you hear the grit in her voice, the way it bounces and deflects from a piercing, outrageous guitar lick. From there, “Breathe Fierce Love” showers the listener with Gaudet’s empowerment and ultra-confidence. You can hear that want, that desire in her voice. She has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it’s what makes her art so much more exciting to listen to.
“Transend Time” opens with a killer riff and once again a chilling wave of harmonies. I loved the piano in “Living It Till I Die”, just beneath the haunting vocal melodies. As the songs stack up, so does the chance slip more and more into this intriguing spell – “Tested By Dragons”, with an audacious title to match, has this cool guitar jaunt. From there it’s “Immigrants” and the sensational “Black Bayou”. Gaudet doesn’t give the listeners even a moment to rest on their laurels – “Hold Out For Love” and “Lessons Of The Water” peel back even more to her artistry and showcase her lyrical vulnerability. Finally, “New Renaissance” captures a feeling, a tone that sets its sights on being both the ending of an album but also marks the beginning of a new life journey. That’s the thing about these songs – they represent a journey in the fast moving, sometimes harsh city of New York (also known as Gotham). You get it all – the flashy, the murky and even the joy. Gaudet is at the top of her game in Manhattan Oz.
Gaudet is originally from the Cajun lands in New Orleans. The album features John Zych, Eric Johnson, Nathan Stevens, David Rockower, George Varghese, Trevor Sewell and EJ Ouelette. Manhattan Oz: A Gotham Odyssey is Gaudet’s 10th solo album release. Among her impressive resume is a collaboration with the late (and legendary) Allen Toussaint, Randy Newman and more. Bringing the Big Easy to the Big Apple isn’t an easy task – but Gaudet delivers a satisfying, wonderous sonic journey.