Reviews for Naomi's "Gentle As The Sun" Album

From Maverick Magazine (UK):

Five stars.

Third album from Naomi Sommers is an absolute joy!

       GENTLE AS THE SUN is exactly what it says on the label, gentle, beautiful song cycles which warm and feed the soul like a winter sun. Not for Naomi Sommers the sudden changes in mood, which can sometimes destroy the flow of an album for the listener, this is simply a glass of red wine, watching the sun go down experience from start to finish.

     Her vocal and delivery (though softer) is reminiscent at times, of one of her declared influences Iris Dement. The musicianship throughout is outstanding and whilst very easy on the ear on the first listen, it becomes compulsive after a few plays. 

With a maturity of songwriting and arrangement well beyond her years, Naomi just has to be a name we'll hear more of. The genre is old-timey folk, but delivered in such a relaxed way, that you can't help finding yourself tapping away a foot, right there on the back porch. Let it warm your soul. Magnificent! AJT


Americana-UK  (Lynne Pettinger)

Naomi is the new Nanci. This is a clever, poetic, political and caring record that is mainstream Americana and very pleasant for all that. The cover of 'Sea of Heartbreak' is well chosen, and shows Naomi in a fine and gentle bluegrass place she also reaches elsewhere, ( it'll be alright). Other songs are straighter singer-songwriter, but there's not one that isn't saying something worth listening to. ). Naomi is worth hearing and a name to watch.

Her soulful vocals fitting well with the music, country style sound that thankfully owes more to Cash and Nelson than to Garth Brooks. The mix of traditional sounds with her contemporary voice adds an element that stands her apart from so many of her contemporaries and makes her an artist to watch. Not sure what I mean? Seek out 'Hard To Love You' and you'll understand!


Leicester Bangs

This record sounds effortless as it slips from song to song. However, that is due to the consummate skills of the singers and musicians. It's a family affair. Naomi's father, bluegrass musician Phil Rosenthal plays (it's his record label), as does her brother, Danny. It also boasts contributions from a stellar line up of Nashville's finest, including Jim Rooney and the legend that is Al Perkins. This is an amalgam of bluegrass, folk and country all rolled up into a lovely album. All her own songs except one, a bluegrass version of "Sea Of Heartbreak". Her own are songs of love and loss, and are beautifully sung and played, in particular "It'll Be Alright" which finishes the album in a positive vein.  (Paul Kerr)

Ms. Sommers has delivered an album that caresses the earbuds; swinging lazily and with some nifty picking - Al Perkins on dobro for example. "Come Home" is a surprisingly jaunty plea to a soldier stationed in Iraq. The lazy waltz of "Gray Sky Girls" with its sneaky dobro and keen fiddle compares the girls from back home in Virginia to the coolness of Boston city women. A lovely song.  Overall this a hickory infused, toe tappin' well sung collection of mature, comfortable, lived in songs that deserve to lift Ms Sommers into Bob Harris radio territory. And it did bring a spot of warmth into a cold December bunny burrow.


Next Big Thing:

The first thought that strikes me, is how appealingly free of angst this music is.  But don’t, for a second, gentle reader, think this is some smug family rustic collection; there are tingles of the cold beneath the warmth, for example the perfectly realized tale of a woman’s fears for her lover at war in the song ‘Come Home’.  ‘Gray Sky Girls’ is constructed and played  with an intuitive feel for traditional country that a Dolly Parton or Emmylou Harris would approve of.  Mention must be made of the only non original in the set ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’ which the artist makes her own with the aid of lilting strings and gentle banjo


Rock’N’Reel magazine:

Naomi Sommers blends bluegrass, folk and old-timey music and Gentle As The Sun is a polished collection of her songs (and one cover).  Al Perkins’ Dobro adds a note of distinction, as does Daniel Rosenthal’s trumpet and ‘Come Home’, about the Iraq war, is the standout track.


Country Music People

By Tom Travis

This album has some special quality that entraps the listener – in fact, like the title of track 2 suggests, it’s Hypnotizing.  This recording creates a mood of melancholy, reminiscent of the work of Victorian, romantic poets and, as with those versemakers, the end product is a thing of beauty.  Naomi Sommers betrays the influences of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, among other – but a darker Joni Mitchell. 

    There is a maturity and assuredness to the lyrics of the thirteen songs, written by Naomi, which as with, say, those of Paul Simon, are in a deceptively easy conversational style, although in reality every word must have been carefully chosen.  The melodies are strong too with some really luxuriant passages.  The one cover on the album is the Don Gibson classic, Sea of Heartbreak, which works really well and sits comfortably among the Sommers’ originals.

    One of the highlights for me is the tastefully, laid-back trumpet playing of Daniel Rosenthal, which is not at all intrusive and sounds delicious.  The vocal harmonies are really sound with Naomi’s one time musical partner Lisa Bastoni putting in some lovely lines along with Noam Weinstein, Phil Rosenthal and producer, Jim Rooney.

    Several of the songs on this recording, if highlighted and showcased, maybe as music behind a TV advertisement or in a film, would have a compelling effect on the listening public.  Two Sparrows, Hypnotizing, and Mama’s House are definite front runners and the one that gets nearest to ‘lively’ on this smooth-groove, laid-back soiree, It’ll Be Alright, would knock their socks off.  I find Gray Sky Girls intriguing, as written by a woman, it discloses an appreciation of the female sex that is worthy of the most testosterone driven male – and, if recorded by k.d. lang, would endanger her main-stream status.  (  


Toxic Pete

If ever an album title told the true story of its contents this is it!! After just one play through, 'Gentle As The Sun' by Naomi Sommers left me feeling wonderfully relaxed and with a nice warm, tingly feeling .

Forget all the country sub-genre, forget the ins and outs of country or folk music - just get yer ears around this stunning album and admire Naomi Sommers for the bright star that she clearly is. Sommers’ silky vocals seem to skip across the lyrics and yet the words still embed themselves in your mind and call you back.

'Gentle As The Sun' sits somewhere between Emmylou Harris and Joni Mitchell; less hard-core country than the former and similarly less jazzy than the latter but with all the positive creative attributes and subtle undercurrents of both. 

Naomi Sommers is as good as it gets; beautiful songs, stunning musicianship, fantastic voice - what more could you possibly want? 


Honky Deluxe, April 8, 2009

En ny mycket angenäm bekanskap inom countryfolk-fåran. Naomi Sommers har en utmärkt röst och hon har knåpat ihop ett helt koppel med mjuka melodier, som lindar sig som bomull kring hjärtat.

Hon var med om sin första skivinspelning redan som femåring. Sedan dess har Naomi Sommers sjungit gospel och jazz samt spelat flöjt i symfoniorkestrar. Hon har även medverkat på drygt 15 skivor utgivna på hennes pappas bolag American Melody.

    På sitt andra soloalbum står hon stadigt i bluegrass-myllan och blandar in americana, folk och traditionell country. Det är vemodigt och vackert och Sommers sjunger med både sval och sensuell röst. Hon har skrivit alla låtar själv förutom klassikern Sea of heartbreak vilken hon tolkar med äran i behåll. Musikerna är rutinerade proffs och som producent står Jim Rooney, som arbetat med bland andra John Prine, Iris Dement och Nanci Griffith. Bakom mixerbordet hittas för övrigt David Ferguson som spelade in American Recordings-plattorna med Johnny Cash.

Robert Lagerström