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JFH Music Review

JJ Heller, Deeper

JJ Heller

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks: 35 minutes, 45 seconds
Street Date: October 11, 2011

JJ Heller is no newcomer to music. She has released plenty of independent albums and even gave us a full-length just last year. However, this latest release is a prequel of sorts. In the middle of recording Deeper, her song "Hands" took off. So JJ and her husband Dave began recording a different, more polished project that became When I'm With You. Thankfully, she has decided to not just let Deeper fall to the wayside but has released it for listeners to enjoy.

Opening the album is the thoughtful "I Get To Be The One." Easy listening music floods the track with soft acoustic tones and a smooth electric lead. New parents will love the gracefulness as JJ and Dave sing about how they get to be the ones to watch their children grow up. Sweet and sentimental are the words that come to mind as they sing together. That same feeling continues on the jazz infused "The Very Thought of You." Heller's vocals are reminiscent of the classic Disney song "So This Is Love" as she hums along at parts in the song. It's a simple and pure love song with no makeup or over-dressed music.

"In the End" features a melancholy folk melody as Heller sings of the dangers of materialism and how it will all fade away. Lyrically, it poses the same questions that can be found in Ecclesiastes in a very creative way. Continuing in the folksy feel is "Someday." Instead of just singing of life beyond the grave, Heller focuses on living in peace while still here on Earth. Heller also introduces some colorful imagery to her sound in "Red Against Your Black" and "Sunshine." While the former sings of love covering our transgressions and forgiveness, the latter sings of the finding the beauty of God in everything.

To make the album something special, there are the original acoustic recordings of some of the better songs on last year's release. "When I'm With You," "Control," and "Boat Song" stand out as being better than their polished versions. The raw sound of Heller's voice and the excellent guitar work of Dave truly shine. "No Fight Left" and "Kingdom Come" receive an excellent acoustic treatment and give the fan a great alternate version to listen to.

If When I'm With You was a good introduction for new listeners, Deeper is a more raw and real expression of who JJ Heller is. The music isn't cleaned and polished like many of today's artists; it's modest and untainted. Deeper is an incredible album for new and old fans alike and is perfect for the fall season. Do yourself a favor and get it now.

- PReview date: 8/16/11, Review date: 10/7/11, written by Ryan Barbee of class="coversize" align=right> Early Thoughts...
Not even a year ago indie sensation JJ Heller gave listeners When I'm With You. Her upcoming release, Deeper, goes back in time to the roots of her previous offering. It's a prequel of sorts with the original 2009 recordings of the standout tracks "Boat Song," "When I'm With You," and others. Plus it features unreleased and brand new recordings that are sure to keep Heller fans coming back for more. Musically, the album is very raw and stripped of production fluff but is filled with awe-inspiring acoustic reverb. Lyrically, it continues in the same stream of love songs that are honest, transparent, and just downright catchy. JJ and Dave Heller's voices are top notch and blend together better than ever. This is a great album for girls, guys, the young, the old, newlyweds, and the veteran married couple. If you want a great album to listen to this fall with a cup of coffee and your loved ones by your side, it would do you good to get Deeper as soon as possible...

- Review date: 8/16/11, written by Ryan Barbee of --->

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

As already evidenced with last year's When I'm With You, singer/songwriter JJ Heller majors on an AC pop style that's won over many fans over the years. What many listeners do not know, however, is that When I'm With You took on a much different form at first. Some songs were written with a lighter, acoustic feel, but when Heller began to accumulate success on the airwaves with tracks from 2009's Painted Red, Deeper was put on hold and the radio-friendly When I'm With You was released instead with some of these tracks rerecorded with more production. But Deeper is now available as it was meant to be heard, and the result is astonishing. "I Get To Be The One" starts the album with a familiar pop vibe, but the rest of the album is an entirely different story. The acoustic feel is a very winning approach for Heller, and though the production value is much lower this time around, the tracks seem far more accomplished in comparison. Even the heartfelt lyrics are strengthened through this musical concept. While Heller clearly picked the best tracks from Deeper for her last project ("When I'm With You," "Control," "No Fight Left," "Boat Song," "Kingdom Come"), they sound even better and fit the album's mood beautifully. As far as new tracks go, "The Very Thought of You" showcases Heller's vocal abilities amazingly well, and "Someday" and "Sunshine" may go down as some of her best songwriting to date. To conclude, JJ Heller has found her niche. Her music only benefits from the stripped-down treatment that Deeper employs, and she would do well to focus in and develop this sound further as her career progresses. - Roger Gelwicks, 10/8/11


. Record Label: New Day
. Album length: 12 tracks: 35 minutes, 45 seconds
. Street Date: October 11, 2011
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. I Get To Be The One (3:15)
  2. The Very Thought Of You (2:48)
  3. When I'm With You (2:38)
  4. In The End (4:15)
  5. Control (3:35)
  6. No Fight Left (3:48)
  7. Someday (2:47)
  8. In The End (Reprise) (0:34)
  9. Red Against Your Black (2:51)
  10. Sunshine (3:13)
  11. Boat Song (3:40)
  12. Kingdom Come (2:26)


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