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Leslie Ritter and Scott Petito
              IN THE SILENCE      (Hudson Valley Records)
                          Leslie Ritter and Scott Petito

Here's an unusual gem of a record. It not only provides a spotlight on a rare singer and instrumentalist, but a window into a fertile music scene. Upstate NY has long been a haven for many outstanding artists of all kinds seeking refuge from and access to NYC, and NRS Studios/Hudson Valley Records is a pivotal showcase for a number of them. Great regional studios tend to preserve and highlight the essence and personality of acts that corporate urban studios and labels have traditionally diluted.

Scott Petito is a Berklee School of Music grad who sounds like he spent his whole life in the studio. A world class bassist, he's also a fine guitarist and keyboard adept. He's assembled a strong cast of supporting musicians for this and other Hudson Valley releases from his NRS Studios in Carmel, NY. You can check out their linked website for a look at other releases and many artistic credits. The CD In the Silence that he's done with partner Leslie Ritter showcases their classy compositions with a few beautiful covers.

Angels don't sing better than Leslie Ritter. Sure, they can fly, but they're not sexy anymore. Like outstanding instrumentalists, she gives this listener the feeling that there's nothing she couldn't do with her voice. In the Silence is a benchmark recording in the New Age/AC vein. Check out "Forgiveness" or "Broken Wings," see if her vocal magnetism doesn't draw you in too.      • FG

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