Jo´N And Her Sweet Nothings

REVIEW by Willard Manus

About two years ago, I reviewed JO'N, a CD showcasing the work of Johanna Fassbender, one of Europe's young singer/songwriters, a gigantic talent who deserves to be discovered in this country. Jo'n not only sings in English in a voice that can only be called mesmerizing, but writes in English as well, mostly about love and its joys and discontents.

On her new CD--SWEET NOTHINGS--Jo'n adds a new ingredient to her song-styling: a touch of other-worldliness, lunar influence. Don't mistake this for New Age sappiness or Twilight Zone contrivance: Jo'n's lyrics are still rooted in reality, still deal with passionate, if conflicted and hurt, women--in short, honest emotions and longings. But the moon definitely figures in many of her compositions, such as this one titled "Lunar Escape":

And you said that you know your way

Well, I wish it could be true

When I hear all those things you say

I feel that you don't have a clue

And you said that you're back on your trail

Does it feel good to be back home?

Well I hope that your plan won't fail

Does it feel good to be alone?

I took you to the moon

I took you to the moon

There's nothing dreamy or sugar-sweet about the way Jo'n sings these words; on the contrary, she's harsh and angry at first, then switches to an unearthly kind of voice, one which suggests the voice of a goddess, a Venus. In another song, "I Close My Door," a lonely woman, one who presumably has been dumped by her lover, calls to the moon in hope that "she will hold me together."

Collaborating with Fassbender in the composition of the 14 songs on the CD is Markus Apitius, who also plays guitar, keys and bass on the record. Apitius, a Cologne-based musician, also produced the CD and sang backup on it. Without question, he is one of the most gifted artists working in Europe today, a major force on the musical scene.

Many American singers and songwriters have found acceptance and success in Europe. Now it's time for America to reciprocate by opening its arms to German singer/songwriters like Fassbender and Apitius.

For further information and song samples visit Toca Records.