OUT OF MY HANDS REVIEWS:
Natasha Borzilova-OUT OF MY HANDS (four stars)-Absorbing and intriguing folk-pop songs to listen to over and over again: This Russian-born singer- songwriter, now firmly ensconced in Nashville, will take your breath away with her latest folk-pop album, with its’ themes of loss, depression, childhood, parenthood and life’s insecurities. The former member of the vastly underrated Bering Strait is not only a classically-trained guitarist, but is also a skilled songwriter whose mastery of the English language is something to behold. The first track, Better Than Me engages the listener, initially with the a cappella opening, then the powerful musical arrangement that boosts Natasha’s emotional and forceful vocal that builds the tension perfectly. There’s a softer feel to Cynics Hate Hollywood as the soft and soothing charms of Natasha’s voice and guitar enfold the listener. This entire CD is overflowing with thoughtful and tender lyrics surrounded by soothing and free flowing acoustic guitar. Many of the songs are drawn from the singer’s own life and relationships and the experiences of those close to her. Out of My Hands delicately explores a relationship break-up; The World Below faces up to depression in a straightforward and honest way. whilst Winter Season was inspired by her late grandmother; a lady who obviously had lived life to the full.
Drawing from her own experiences adds much to these songs and you can feel the personal involvement in Natasha’s heartfelt delivery. The production is inventive throughout with crystal clear musical arrangements utilizing the singer’s own 12-string and six-string acoustic guitars, Bob Britt’s unobtrusive electric guitars, Alison Prestwood’s always solid bass and Michael Rojas’ piano, accordion, organ and synthesizer. Showing boldness , the delicate Long Night features some cool experimental guitar work, nice traditional Russian lullabies and even a short rap section that fits in like a comfort blanket. You will thoroughly enjoy this absorbing collection of folk-pop songs, especially if you are a fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter. -Alan Cackett/Maverick Music Magazine/UK
–It’s hard enough to write a CD’s worth of intelligent, engaging songs in one’s native language. To do so in one’s second language, as Russia-born singer-songwriter Natasha Borzilova has with Out of My Hands, is a pretty impressive achievement.
On her third solo release (she’s a former member of Bering Strait, a country band she started in her homeland and later brought to the United States), Borzilova explores themes including new love, lost love, depression, new motherhood, the loss of a parent and even Russian lullabies. She does this with a world-class voice and a Russian poet’s sensibility.
For example, on “Gypsy,” she sings, “I’m not asking for your heart/Just let me read your hands/I saw the future in your palms/But I didn’t find myself.” Combined with Billy Panda’s beautiful mandocello, it’s enough to break your heart.
Borzilova plays guitar, but her best instrument is her warm, expressive voice, which is capable of wide emotional and musical range. She uses it to great effect on the album, which she also produced.
Backing is provided by an impressive cast of Nashville veterans: guitarist (and bandleader) Panda, guitarist Bob Britt, bassist Alison Prestwood, drummer Tommy Harden and keyboardist Michael Rojas. Borzilova’s husband, John Caldwell, recorded and mixed the album, and contributed some hip-hop vocals to “Long Night,” which also features Borzilova singing verses from traditional Russian lullabies. -Paul T. Mueller/Americana Music News
“Out Of My Hands” is a very special album by Natasha Borzilova. It is our introduction to someone facing heartbreak with a remarkable upbeat attitude –somewhat. She may be feeling older but she never seems older to me. That’s what the mythological characters she creates are to me. – John Shelton Ivany/Top 21
With her newest CD, Out Of My Hands, Natasha Borzilova solidifies her place among the brightest and most talented singer/songwriters of her generation. The eleven songs that comprise this work explore relationships and life stories in a deeply personal yet peaceful perspective and it comes off exceedingly well. Natasha has always had one of the finest voices and musically fresh approaches of anyone in this genre. Out of My Hands shows that she is as capable as anyone of crafting lyrics to match her other exceptional talents. This CD is certain to become a classic. -Craig Huegel/The Monday Morming Show, WMNF,Tampa, Florida
NATASHA BORZILOVA/Out of My Hands – This is the title tune of the second solo album from this former Bering Strait vocalist. She wrote or co-wrote all of its songs and this mid-tempo meditation illustrates, she has evolved into a communicator of subtle strength and confessional intimacy. Her production skills are nothing to sneeze at, either. Highly recommended. –Robert K. Oermann/Music Row Magazine
NATASHA BORZILOVA-OUT OF MY HANDS (Dutch Review translated into English) – When our team leader Freddy handed me the new cd by Natasha Borzilova he told me I had reviewed a previous album of this lady. To be perfectly honest I had to admit not to remember anything about that but it was 2008 since I reviewed Cheap Escape and quite a respectable number of cd’s have passed my desk since then.
However, after I had heard the first songs on this new album “Out Of My Hands” I did remember this striking voice and after revisiting my earlier review of her cd Cheap Escape there were a couple of déjá vu – or better still déjà entendu moments. Nathasha Borzilova was for a long time the lead singer of the Russian band ‘Bering Strait’ until she decided to move on and make it as a solo singer in Nashville, Tennessee.
Her own compositions as a singer/songwriter where of such quality she was asked to record her debut album Cheap Escape in Nashville. Her second cd “Balancing Act” followed in 2010 and now with the self produced album Out Of My Hands she has released eleven new songs. Songs creating a Pop and Folk atmosphere that make maximum use of her vocal qualities.
A lot of the songs are about love, sung and described in all its aspects ranging from falling in love, declaring it’s not going to work and deciding it best for each to go his/her own way. This theme is certainly present in the songs “Better Than Me”, the titelsong “Out Of My Hands”, “Fisherman’s Wife” and “Gypsy”.
In the song “The World Below” she tells about a dark period in her life when, after a painful break-up, she fell victim to depression and self destructive thoughts threatened to enter her mind. It was during this period that the song “One Soul Desire” came to be. “Long Night” is again a very striking song on this album. A sort of compilation of traditional Russian nurseries interspersed with an intermezzo in rap-style (by husband John Caldwell) about the restless first nights after the birth of their child.
“Winter Season” is about her late grand mother who died as a result of ‘Alzheimers’ and the many deep meaningful conversations Natasha Borzilova had with her regarding the relativity of life and growing old. The last song on the album “Tiny Little Things” in contrast is about the new life she gave to her recently born daughter. A beautiful and fitting end to this album.
In contrast to her two previous cd’s, this album by Natasha Borzilova consists primarily of ballads. The most appropriate way to bring across the life-stories she wants to offer through her songs. It must be said that this is a style fitting her like a glove and we would not mind it one bit if she decided to record another cd just like this. -vaslam/Rootstime.BE (see CD/DVD Recencies under June 2012)
“The care with which Nathasha Borzilova crafts her songs and leads her tracks with confidence can be traced to classical training as a child guitar prodigy. The results are Out of My Hands, an album that showcases Nathasha’s vocal as a force that gracefully cradles in “Gypsy” and “Winter Season”, stutters and sparkles across the surface of “The World Below”, become a quiet storm in “One Second Flat” and walks with “Fisherman’s Wife” as it carves a heart in the sand of an empty harbor.
Out of My Hands is a powerful album. Its ability to play without bombarding the senses is testament to the control that carries with her into the studio. Natasha lends life experiences to the emotions of the tracks and brings her training in to have the music arrange with peaks and valleys that stretch their potential by relying on the voice work Natahsa brings to the studio. The polish of Pop is laid over the singer/songwriter make-up in Out of My Hands”. -Danny McCloskey/The Alternate Root
German Review with approximate Google English translation following:
“Out Of My Hands, das dritte und neue Solo-Album von NATASHA BORZILOVA, einst Leadsängerin der kurzlebigen, russischen Band Bering Strait, ist voll mit Songs, die so richtig unter die Haut gehen. Und auch hier hört man die Emotion und Intension einer Sängerin und Songschreiberin, der es auf den Moment ankommt. Minimale Instrumentierung und ein lieblich-melancholischer Gesang reichen völlig aus um ihre dichten, enorm packenden Lieder, die sich inhaltlich wie bei vielen anderen auch um Hoffnung, Familie, Verlust und Liebe ranken, zu transportieren. Angesprochen fühlen dürfen sich alle, die wahre Folk- und Singer/Songwriter-Kunst schätzen”. -Max Achatz/Country Jukebox
“Out Of My Hands, the new third solo album NATASHA BORZILOVA, former lead singer of the short-lived Russian band Bering Strait, is full of songs that go really under the skin. And here you can hear the emotion and intention of a singer and songwriter, who arrives at the moment. Minimal instrumentation and a sweet, melancholy vocals are fully sufficient for their dense, extremely haunting songs, which have grown up with many other content and also about hope, family, love, loss and transport. All may feel yourself to appreciate the true folk and singer / songwriter Art.”-Max Achatz/Country Jukebox
“When people listen to this record, I’d like them to understand that they’re actually looking into a very, very personal space in my soul.” Singer/songwriter folk artist Natasha Borzilova is referring to her latest – her third solo project, “Out Of My Hands,” released by Hadley Music Group. This self-produced, eleven-song CD is smart and introspective; she peels back the layers of relationships and life experiences, and tells all with an intimate vocal that occasionally rocks out, grabbing the listener by the collar and giving it a shake.
Borzilova was a long-time member of the Grammy-nominated band, Bering Strait, that came to Nashville from Russia with their unique “redgrass” music. Two of the band’s songs appear here, most notably the sad and lovely title track, where she confesses that someday she’ll be over a breakup: “I’m not gonna cry, oh no/Not a single tear/I keep myself in check/I tried everything/Couldn’t bring you back.”
Like wildflowers, hints of Shawn Colvin inspiration push through her memorable chorus melodies, and her A-list studio band’s sparkling music moments pop off the speakers. Dynamic drumming and electric guitar rumble in like a storm on “Fisherman’s Wife,” and Billy Panda’s mandocello gives some old-world flair to her work on “Better Than Me” and “Gypsy.”
Album stand-outs come in the second half. “One Second Flat” tells about the death of her father through the eyes of a frightened thirteen-year old girl: “Gotta get away/But she can’t run that fast/Scary things replace other things/That wouldn’t last.” Borzilova’s deliciously catchy phrasing over Michael Rojas’ Hammond B3 in the alt rock “One Soul Desire” makes for her most powerful performance here, where she sings: “I’d let you go but I still wish I could/Stretch my arm across the bed/And reach inside your dream again/Is one soul desire enough to change your minds/ And make you stay?…” -Janet Goodman/Music News Nashville
BALANCING ACT REVIEWS:
Natasha Borzilova’s previous album, Cheap Escape, was a very appealing record, and her new release shows the same capable songwriting. The Russian born singer has chosen songs about finding balance, and it works as a theme.
“Anything at all” has a sensitive lyric, and a melody that flows naturally. “Fine Print” has a tale of love that Borzilova tells with her consummate grace and style. It’s one of the album’s standouts. “Paper Wings” is a song that allows her to use her lovely voice to its best as she sings of vulnerability and change. The closing “Rechka” a Russian folk song about death, and as ever it’s an intriguing recording. Her voice sounds as good as ever in Russian and the stark reading is just great. It’s an amazing record. -Anna Maria Stjärnell/Luna Kafe
It’s probably the height of self-deception to believe you can meet and know a person intimately within the span of eleven songs. But in Balancing Act Natasha Borzilova convinces you that it’s not just possible but inevitable. She writes with such sensitivity and intelligence and sings with such profound emotional engagement that listening to her is like overhearing her thoughts as they form. As a vocalist, Borzilova is in the sweet-singing company of nightingales that includes Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. This is an important album and a joy to listen to. -Edward Morris/CMT.com
You will probably recognize Natasha Borzilova from the Grammy-nominated group, Bering Strait. She was the lead singer and acoustic guitarist of this group of incredibly talented, classically trained musicians from Russia who hit the country scene a few years ago releasing 2 albums with Universal South Records. Since the group parted ways in 2006, Natasha has been pursuing music as a solo artist in Nashville.
Her new project ‘Balancing Act‘ exudes simplicity by going for an acoustic, stripped down feel interwoven withNatasha‘s intricate guitar skills and beautiful vocals at the very forefront. It’s timeless, soothing and just plain good music. -Patrice Majors/Nashville Hype read the interview that followed this review
Who? Natasha Borzilova, formerly of Grammy-nominated Bering Strait, originally from Russia and now living in Nashville. This is her first solo outing.
Any good? You bet. “I’m angry” she sings in the opener of the same title, and you’d better believe it; this lady is upset. There’s no bitterness here though, just a straight-to-the-point statement of intent. As if to leave you in no doubt, the guitar solo smacks you between the eyes like a cork from a well-shaken champagne bottle. The title track, Cheap Escape, brings in an accordion and suddenly you’re in Counting Crows territory. October Blueis very good, with its vocal harmonies; Dear Diary is nothing like you’d expect from a song with a title like that; and closing track Something I never knew about love is simply top class. Difficult to pick a personal favourite from such a strong collection, and I’ve had this on rotation in the car for the last week and a half, so just go buy it. -Alan Green/Guitar Noise
As her first solo effort since the lead singer and bandmates from Bering Strait went their own ways, this project allows Natasha to express her own personal musical tastes. Born in Russia, she brings a diverse combination of musical influences together to give her a unique sound like no other. With some songs being dark and others leaning toward classical, the listener gets a little bit of everything in this CD.
Natasha is a storyteller and combines her vocal talent with the music of the instruments to add intense moments and at other times uses just her voice and the guitar. Cheap Escape, the title cut is a perfect example of her vocal abilities.
Each song on this CD brings out an emotion that draws you into the lyrics and Natasha captivates you with her soul filled voice.
For more information on Natasha Borzilova, check out her website at www.natashaborzilova.com –Bev Moser/Music News Nashville
Ever since we all fell in love with that cute li’l Irish couple from Once, first in the film and then at the Oscars, most of us have been perking up our ears when we hear “foreign” and “acoustic” in the same sentence. Well, keep those ears perked for Cheap Escape, the new album from Natasha Borzilova.
Borzilova was a member of Grammy-nominated group Bering Strait, a combo of child prodigies from Russia who came to the US as adults to try their hands at country singing. (Sounds like a movie, right? Actually, there was a documentary made about the band.) When the band finally split up in 06, Borzilova saw an opportunity to make music on her own terms.
What emerged from her two-year process is an eclectic collection of strong ballads from a truly talented musician. Borzilova has one of those rare voices: fierce, clear and beautiful, you’ll never catch her slurring through the tough spots or fumbling for a note. Her songs are honest and direct, free of extraneous gimmickry or whininess. And her backing band is extremely talented, but fans of her classic guitar playing will be happy to hear that she also backs herself on every song.
This is a gorgeous, energetic album by an accomplished performer. Pick it up when you need something honest and clean to get your blood flowing.
Favorite Track: “Last Touch” -Kris Larson/OnlineRock
“At last–an adult who sings for adults. Borzilova sifts through the shards of fractured relationships with the eye of an archaeologist and the eloquence of a poet. Her voice is rich, clear and urgent.” -Edward Morris / CMT.com
“Sometimes a voice is so striking, emotional, and timeless that it doesn’t matter what language the singer is singing to appreciate it. This was the case when I first heard Natasha singing a folk song in her native Russian. When combined with meaningful, introspective, and intimately personal lyrics like those on ‘Cheap Escape’ the result is music with undeniable depth and substance. One can only hope there is more where this came from.” – Luke Wooten /Grammy award winning engineer and Associate producer of Dierks Bentley, Bering Strait, Josh Gracin, and The Lost Trailers, Producer of The SteelDrivers
“Natasha Borzilova, an easy summer breeze on the verge of whippin’ into an afternoon thunder storm in the stroke of a pen. I see her that way and smile because this is a woman who knows exactly what she wants in her music and will not let go of a song until it fits her like a tailored jacket. Her writing style is so fresh and at the same time as seasoned as an ancient poet. I find that when I write with her I am learning to let go of the “safe way of saying things” and embracing her uncanny good sense of telling a tale as only she can. I am a fortunate co-writer who so appreciates what Natasha brings to the table. Her melodies and command of the guitar inspire me every time. I am loving that her first solo CD is finally here. This very talented singer, guitarist and songwriter needs to be heard. She has so much to say and floating in the midst of her most beautiful guitar work you will hear her loud and clear!” -Donna Ulisse/singer-songwriter and co-writer of Cheap Escape
Forum star Natasha rules Nashville
Natasha Borzilova, vocalist and guitarist with the band Bering Strait, who played the Outer Banks Forum, is releasing a solo CD that begins stealthily:
After a little vamping, Natasha sings, quietly, Did you check the message that I left on your answering machine? Like an approaching storm, the pressure builds: I know you listened to it when she left the house.
The band ramps it up and Natasha takes it up an octave, bringing the thunder: I’m angry…. The band is now crashing headlong and Borzilova’s grand voice has the listener hooked. She wrote the tour de force and she and the six-piece combo (she plays one of two acoustic guitars on the cut) realize it powerfully.
When she played the Outer Banks, I especially noted her singing. Her guitar-playing is no less remarkable, not what one might expect from such an angelic-voiced beauty. With Bering Strait she occasionally took inventive lightning-quick solos on her acoustic, and of a piece with her musicianship is her songwriting ability. (She wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the CD.) These are fully realized songs that would fit in well in the current AOR-Nashville-pop continuum. Actually, they should dominate it. (Contemporary country music stations are playing some of the most interesting pop music today.)
Borzilova’s songs are endlessly interesting, from bare acoustic ballads to full-tilt rockers, laden with hooks, and with choruses, bridges and instrumental passages that perfectly fit the concept of each song. Nice touches abound, like the loping 6/4 time signature of “How Do You Do That?”
And that voice — it’s a charming, throaty mezzo-soprano that she can wrap around any intervals she can write, while remaining completely natural-sounding. Her phrasing is that of normal speech, which will draw the listener right in. And that listener would never guess that Borzilova’s first language wasn’t English.
The stories in the songs are nearly cinematic, too. Borzilova’s talent is wide and deep: From writing the songs to playing and singing them, she is outstanding. The musicians on this CD play as well as one would expect from Nashville cats, that is, expertly, complementing Natasha’s skills and lifting her up to centerstage.
On her website she writes, I remember driving home from the very last tracking session after recording the instrumentals for Cheap Escape, Dear Diary, Something I Never Knew About Love, Fatal One Day, and Real Fight and thinking that I would buy these tracks if I heard them playing in some music store, just as they were.
True enough, and the talent of Natasha is the fundamental piece of the equation. (And the added lyrics and vocals of Natasha make the tracks irresistible.) This music needs to be heard, and some samples from the CD can be. They’re well-chosen, and should whet the whistle of those music-lovers looking for the next big thing. – written by Pete Hummers, Outer Banks Onstage
Natasha Borzilova was part of the group Bering Strait and now she’s released her first solo record. Her music is highly accessible and very radio friendly without losing the edge.
The title song sees her sing a sweet melody and show off her strong voice. “October Blue” paints a lovely picture of a loved one and is accordingly beautiful. “Real Fight” has a slight country feel as the singer puts down an unworthy man. Her voice is in fine form and the slide guitar sound great. The closing “Something I Never Knew About Love” is poignant and a fitting end. She really sings her heart out and the song sounds fabulous. This is a fine album. -Anna Maria Stjärnell/Luna Kafe
In the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, a group of classically trained child prodigies put together a band called Bering Strait, toured the United States and moved to Nashville, where they put out two albums for Universal South. Natasha Borzilova was the band’s lead singer.
Bering Strait scored a grammy nomination for country instrumental of the year in 2002 and Emmy Award-winner Nina Seavey made a documentary, The Ballad of Bering Strait, which drew a lot of attention to the band’s music.
Then, as so many bands do, Bering Strait split up and Borzilova found herself turning into a solo act. Cheap Escape is her first solo record. It shows where she’s been and where she is going. “Something I Never Knew About Love” was written with her Bering Strait bandmates and sounds like one of the songs they did together, even though the others did not play on it. “I’m Angry” and “Don’t Stop” take us inside the heart of a young woman, while “How Do You Do That?” celebrates new love.
The fabulous thing about the CD, though, is Natasha Borzilova’s voice, which is deep and husky, with a nuanced intensity that causes you to pull your car over to the side of the road and just listen. -Michael Scott Cain/Rambles.net