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"I thought blues as a genre had reached a point that nothing new can be said or expressed musically, but I guess I was wrong. Vancouver’s prolific Norine Braun is releasing her ninth album, Conventus the Eye of the Heart, and Braun continues the tradition of Nick Cave and Joni Mitchell exploring new musical ideas inherent in blues and folk. At times gritty, at others, soft and contemplative, and even a little strange at times, Conventus the Eye of the Heart is an exciting and fresh new album.
Braun’s versatile voice is like her lyrics: It can be gritty, sensitive, or even in-between whenever needed. Her fantastic vocals perfectly support the different emotions of each individual song, and paired with the range of sounds explored make it understood well that Braun isn’t a one trick pony pigeonholed by the term “folk-blues.” Songs like “Boy” are wonderfully beautiful, while the song, “99%” is a directly more aggressive, yet supportive anthem for the Occupy movement. One thing is clear, no matter what Braun is singing about, she does it with truth and conviction, and with a stunning believability.
Although there’s a root of blues and folk throughout the entire album, there are hints of psychedelic on “Take the Sleek Train,” and jazz on “The Perfect Love Affair.” The distortion on songs like “Today,” even hint at punk, but it’s great because it doesn’t stick to one genre or the other. It’s an extremely diverse album that has its roots in one or two genres, but explores many more successfully as well.
This reviewer is personally surprised that Braun has released nine albums and I’m just hearing about her. If Conventus is any indication of her earlier work, I cannot wait to check it out. Braun possesses a combination of strong vocals, great lyrics, and fantastic, new ideas. The definition says “blues,” but her music is anything but tied down to that appellation, even featuring a pennywhistle! Conventus the Eye of the Heart is not an album to miss. You can currently stream the entire album on her Bandcamp page, and I highly recommend." Cody Conard The Big Takeover
"Best listened to as loud as your neighbours will tolerate, Conventus is an incredibly strong offering from front to back. Strong and passionate, you are able to feel the artists soul, and that of the musicians playing with her. It’s like Norine is able channel both KD Lang and Joni Mitchell concurrently, which in itself should say something. The power and soulfulness she offers up just has to be experienced."
“Conventus the Eye of the Heart” fuses elements of jazz, funk, pop, rock and reggae into a bewitching blues album. Norine Braun’s vocal styling combines those of artists like Bonnie Raitt, Ani DiFranco and Koko Taylor into one remarkable voice." Laurie Fanelli VeggieFans
"Her music sounds like the union of Nick Cave with Patti Smith & City and Colour deep in the Canadian forests." - Joshua Smotherman MTM
"An imaginative display of fine musicianship, potent vocals and heartfelt lyrics, talent like hers doesn't exactly come around too often." - Kevin Sellers Music Emission