Joyce Cooling’s 7th solo album is a wonderful musical journey that covers a variety of musical styles painting a picture of everything from museum hopping to being on stage to chillin’ out to the harder issues of mental illness and searching for our real identity as women.
Revolving Door contains ten original tracks written by Joyce and her long-time writing partner, Jay Wagner. The Cooling/Wagner synergy goes beyond writing into playing, as Joyce’s guitar and Jay’s keyboards blend seamlessly on each track – no better exemplified than on “Mildred’s Attraction.” This track kicks things off with almost six minutes of upbeat jazz-rock.
The first single from the album, “Cool of the Night,” follows. This atmospheric, chill, Sade-flavored track would have fit right in on a Miami Vice soundtrack!
There is a story behind the title track. Joyce devotes an entire panel in the liner notes to the story. Where as the term can refer to any “relentless cycle where the beginning and the end are blurred into a never-ending continuum,” Cooling is specifically focusing on the revolving door of mental illness. Her own brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19. “Revolving Door” is an intriguing musical picture of that cycle of hope and despair expressed in some great blues riffs. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Revolving Door are going directly to The National Alliance of Mental Illness.
“At the Modern” was inspired by an afternoon of museum hopping. It’s an upbeat and cheerful smooth jazz track with a nice infusion of trumpet by Bill Ortiz. “I’ll Always Love You (Ode to the Audience)” is one of my favorite tracks. It features Joyce on vocals and some very Benson-esque guitar riffs. Sweet! “Come and Get It” is an easy-going, R&B flavored, radio-friendly track.
Delta blues-rock guitar strokes underpin an exhortation to be true to yourself and not let the hype define who you are as a woman on “Little Sister” - the second track highlighting Joyce on lead vocals.
“In Case of Rain” is brief but beautiful acoustic guitar interlude. “Jesse’s Bench” has a nice acoustic accompaniment under the mellow electric bluesy/atmospheric guitar that has a reminiscent yet unresolved feel.
Closing the album is “Once Again,” a beautiful soft acoustic ballad – “a sad and glad refrain” and a wonderful ending to a great CD.
- Elizabeth Ware