After the members of Sixpence None The Richer decided to go their separate ways a few years ago, lead
vocalist and Sixpence's chief personality Leigh Nash began pursuing her own musical
endeavors. Sixpence consisted primarily of one of the most dynamic duos in alternative music,
pairing the beauteous vocals of Nash with the multi-talented Matt Slocum, but individually the two carry distinct musical
strengths. Although Leigh has done scattered solo work while in her previous band, Blue On Blue marks
her full-length debut out on her own.
Blue On Blue is a distinctly more pop-driven effort than most anything Sixpence None
The Richer had done. But taking into consideration Divine Discontent, the band's final studio album,
as the last time we really heard an all-new full-length recording featuring Nash, this album
seems like the natural next step in Nash's musical evolution. Leigh had a hand in the band's songwriting more towards
the end of their run, but being on her own gives her the chance to really write and sing what's on her heart,
making her music all the more passionate, all the more personal.
For Blue On Blue, Nash removed herself from the States and teamed up with producer
Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright) at his barn in Milles Isle, Canada. Sixpence
fans may find the less rootsy, underground feel of Nash's solo venture to be hard to adjust to at first.
But repeated listens will reveal what is simply a new chapter in a beloved artist's life. Blue On Blue
is just as much about relationships as anything from Sixpence was, however, this time around Nash draws the material
from a different source. "Along The Wall," the tender opening track which is one of the two songs
cowritten with Marchland ("Between the Lines" is the other), appears to face a conflict, the pointing of fingers,
and pose the question of who will make the first move towards reconciliation. Nash's angelic vocals sound
as good as ever here on this piano driven pop call for forgiveness. And when the equally emotional
"Nervous In The Light Of Dawn" follows, it's hard not to already be spellbound by Leigh's sweet serenading.
Fragility is part of Nash's charm, and the transparent nature of her personal songwriting may be
daring, but it's what makes it all the more inviting. Blue On Blue may be a radio-friendly
pop record (as evidenced by the hit-worthy love song "My Idea Of Heaven" that follows), but it's some
of the more meaningful and worthwhile pop music you're likely to hear coming from the mainstream.
While Nash's voice has been heard contributing to such worship projects as City On A Hill
and Streams, among others, there isn't a whole lot of spirituality found on Blue On Blue.
Instead, if there's anything that this album is about, it's love. This collection of songs focuses
on the most meaningful relationships in Nash's life, with lyrical themes being mostly drawn from her
experiences as a wife and, more recently, mother. "Cloud Nine," "My Idea Of Heaven," and "More Of It"
all seem to be reflections of adoration for her husband while the beautiful, tender closer "Just
A Little" was inspired by the pain of having to leave her baby Henry for a night for the first time.
Blue On Blue may be more of the radio-friendly brand of pop than most of what Sixpence
None The Richer had to offer, but there are glimmers of the past that shine through on her solo effort.
"Between The Lines" is probably one of the album's most somber moments, a revealing and moody highlight
that, coupled with "More Of It" (which almost fits into the This Beautiful Mess era), seem
to bear the most resemblance to that season in Nash's musical career.
While Slocum's fingerprints are found to be missed upon the first couple listens of Blue On Blue,
repeated plays reveal that this project showcases the beauty and sensitivity that makes Leigh such
an intriguing presence in music. A lovely album from start to finish, Blue On Blue is
a great pop album and proof that her previous band may be done, but the artistry of Leigh Nash is only beginning.
- PReviewed date: 5/31/06; Full review: 8/12/06, written by John DiBiase