Color My World from folk/country singer and songwriter Annette Adler is full of lush harmonies and riveting lyrics. Playing on her penchant for, well, colorful words, Adler’s angelic voice elevates the hues and honey-dipped melodies in this sing-along, reflective album. If you’re a fan of traditional country, these songs check several boxes. If you’re also a fan of modern folk-pop, these tracks, too, check some boxes. Besides the guitar and some snappy percussion peppered in select tracks, Adler’s voice is perhaps her greatest instrument.
Hers is the kind of voice that sounds best in a historic opera house, a small club on a Saturday night or just the corner coffeehouse. She has moments where you want to scramble to hear the next word and be there when she hits that harmony. It’s evident she sings with emotion and that she’s smiling with each stanza. In the opener, “Sister Harmony” it’s immediately felt that she is smiling. She’s recalling a dear moment in her musical upbringing. With each note together, Adler sings. Like the music educator that she is, she sings with clarity and conviction.
“Waves of Blue” and “It Feels Forever” are both excellent tracks. In “Waves of Blue” her California roots seep into the lyrics – complete with literal wave/oceanic sounds. Once “Years” rolls into, opening up into the very emotional “Empty Shoes”, the listener really hears (and feels) the range and artistry in Adler’s lyrics. “Empty Shoes” is a powerful song written in response to a protest to the Marjorie Douglas High School shooting in Florida. The imagery of empty shoes on our Nation’s Capital is so vividly depicted in this song. The lines so let’s fill those shoes with actions they’ll be proud to choose, while we can pay our dues, as we honor, those empty shoes left a softball-sized lump in my throat. Adler is gifted at making a positive from such a tragedy.
Adler continues to bring love and light in “Signs” and “Feel Alright”. I also really enjoyed “Family You Choose”. The quirky organ opening is very fun, with a snappy rhythm that gets your head bopping. Her voice has just the right amount of smoky tones to remind me of Laura Branigan. The tracks “Actually”, “No Tellin’”, “Call Me Crazy” and “Just Like That” fly by, with further evidence that you want to keep sticking around to hear what Adler has to sing. Finally, in the title track, she wraps up the album with a lovely, wholesome bow. Paint my life with possibilities, shadow me in and blanket me, sings an exuberant Adler. Her voice is at the crossroads between Loretta Lynn and Joni Mitchell. They way her natural cadence blends with the acoustic guitar, it’s as if she were singing an intimate concert just for you.
I might be pushing her a bit too far into the country and folk world. I do think pop fans, as well as Christian music fans will embrace Color My World. It certainly crosses boundaries and is full of simple and to-the-point messages. Adler makes you feel light and inspired. The timing feels right for a collection of songs that helps you focus on only the good Color My World is a beautiful, positive sonic gift.