Donna Loren is a sixties girl that made appearances on all kinds of TV shows and movies. That work carried her a long way and now so many years later, her voice still resonates and touches those within earshot. Now in her early sixties living in Hawaii, she has embraced new technologies and decided to cut a new album titled Love It Away.
The recording is a mixture of originals and carefully picked covers. Besides maintaining a commanding and beautiful vocal style she adds keyboards and percussion to the album. The main instrument is her voice, with a resounding sense of definition I might add.
The title track, “Still Love You” , “Only Love”, “OK”, “We Are Woman”, “Be Your Best Friend” and “UR” develop into a fine set of originals with some well known rock and pop standards sandwiched in between. The most prolific cover is Neil Young’s “Old Man”. When I saw that listed I had my doubts as anyone would after hearing her original material. Her voice is so silky smooth yet powerful when she throws all of her emotion into it. Even so, how could she even come close to Young’s original? Well she pulls it off and makes it her own, and that is the X factor, the difference. Some artists make the mistake of trying to sound like the original artist when they cover a track, not Donna, it’s all her and it totally works. “Shakin’ All Over” is exceptional as well, it has that original haunting vibe and reverberating vocal that I remember when I first heard it, which actually was the Guess Who version in the early seventies.
I think one of the reasons for the success of this recording besides Donna’s flat out stunning vocal performance, is the production is kept to a minimum and the instrumentation generally focuses on the keyboards highlighting the sweet sensual vocals of Ms. Loren.
With the help of Skype Donna was able to produce the album from Hawaii right in the studio in Los Angeles. The importance of this release can be found beyond the music, it is a personal statement from the artist and her heartfelt interpretation of her feelings relating to her own life. Whatever emotional pain this woman has experienced she sounds strong enough to have dealt with it and moved on by allowing love and her own heart to let the scars heal. I can hear it and feel it in her voice on both versions of “Love It Away”. Every other track can be considered somewhat of a departure from all of that intensity, in fact many of the tracks usher in some levity to bring the listener back into the here and now after reflecting on the singers’ passionate plea for the redemption of her soul.
Love It Away is music to listen to while in the car, at home, while you are alone sitting underneath a tree on a hot summer’s day. This is music to remember how to love life and cherish every breath you take. An artist like Donna Loren brings back the innocence of another time while reminding us that living today can still be enjoyable and entertaining while listening to music and bringing out those memories from the attic in your mind, blowing off the dust and reliving every moment once again.
Key Tracks: Love It Away, Old Man, Be Your Best Friend
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 8, 2010