HALL OF FAME

Michelle Tumes

 

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     My first Michelle Tumes album was her debut, Listen (1998), which I bought because of reviews that compared it to Enya’s in style.  Certainly there were elements of that smooth, airy sound on Michelle Tumes’s debut, but there was also some songs that sounded a bit too “inspirational” to me.

     When her third album, Dream, came out (2001), it was reviewed at Sound & Spirit as being more pop oriented, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Since I was working at Borders at the time and getting lots of free CDs, it took me awhile to get around to purchasing CDs I was interested in, so I didn’t get Dream until 2004.  I really liked that album...so much that it made it to #11 on my 2004 Music Awards. Unlike her debut, some songs on this album had a strong pop beat to them, yet without losing her trademark smooth, airy sound.  I continued to play the album in years that followed, so much that I wore it out and was looking for more from her.

     I did end up finding her second album, Center Of My Universe (2000), in the free bin at work in 2007.  I listened to it a couple times after I picked it up, but for some reason it just didn’t click with me at the time.

     Dream was released in 2001, and then Michelle Tumes seemed to vanish--the greatest hits album came out and there were no more new albums appearing.  How could she quit now?  Dream was her best album ever!  I had learned about all of Michelle Tumes’s releases through the mail order CD club, Sound & Spirit (the Christian music division of BMG, which is now defunct*), and I had noticed before that sometimes they’d have an artist’s first album or so, then not carry later ones, so I decided to research on the web to see if Michelle Tumes had anything new out.  And lo and behold, in 2006, she had released a new album independently.  At the time, in fact, the ONLY place I could even find the album was on her own website.  After previewing it, I was so delighted with the sound I thought it might even turn out to be my favorite album of hers.  So I bought it in 2008.  My prediction was correct...not only was it my favorite album of hers, it was even my #1 album of 2008.

    It was her third album (my second of hers to acquire) that really made me into a Michelle Tumes fan.  Most of the songs on that album have that smooth, airy feeling of some of Enya’s “uptempo” songs such as “Caribbean Blue” and “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away).”  The way Michelle Tumes did the sound, though, it fit perfectly on a warm, delightful spring day, a peacefully pleasant summer day, and glitteringly beautiful snow-covered winter day.

    And here is where Michelle Tumes really became cemented into my permanent repertoire.  I have a number of musicians whose music I listen to every spring, and I have lots of musicians whose music I play every summer, but no one captures that feeling of breath-taking beauty on a day with fresh, glittering snow on the ground like Michelle Tumes does with her sound.  Dream was the first album I got such pleasure listening to while admiring the snow all around me.  As I mentioned above, I listened to Dream in other seasons too, but it was this winter aspect that really set her apart.

     In the winter of 2008, we had lots of snow, which put me in the mood for Michelle Tumes.  I played one of her first three albums (the only ones I owned then) nearly every day in January through March.  Of course, I first picked up Dream since it had long been my favorite.  But by 2008, I’d played it so many times, I wanted some different songs from her.  So I dusted off my copy of Listen and began playing it more often than ever before.  Next I dug out Center Of My Universe, which I had acquired in March 2007 but largely ignored.  Suddenly, it hit the spot and I played it like crazy, even more than the other two.  I don’t know what I didn’t like about the album before because it’s every bit as good as her others.

     Having played all three of these albums to death the first three months of 2008, I now was curious if she had a new album (or more) that I didn’t know about.  Then I found a new album of hers on her website, and on March 28, 2008 I purchased her self-titled fourth album.

     I played this all through April, through May, and on into the summer.  Though the album was the same sound as her other three (except without the pop beats of Dream), thus making it perfect for snowy days, like Dream, her fourth album fit into spring and summer also, whenever I was in a mood for something smooth and beautiful.

     I am not a fan of adult contemporary music or soft pop, though I do like what some people call “dream pop” or “indie pop.”  Michelle Tumes fits into the “dream pop” category for me.  She has a soft, whispery voice--even though she’s an alto--that works so well with the flowing music she creates.  As long as she continues to put out albums with the beauty and quality of the four she has already released, I am sure I will continue to purchase them...and enjoy them immensely.

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Michelle Tumes creates a smooth, airy pop sound that never gets old for me.  I bought her first album about 10 years ago, and now have all four of her original studio albums to date.  Here’s the story of my gradual discovery of Michelle Tumes and she came to be one of my favorite artists.

To see my reviews of the individual albums, click on the album cover pictures at the top of the page.  (Note: There are no reviews for Listen or Dream.)

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