Cincinnati Post - January 13, 2000
The local CD of the week comes from singer-songwriter Janet Pressley, who has released a stunning album featuring her angelic voice and clever lyrics. A Deeper State of Blue finds her in some angsty moods, yet her introspective style is never depressing. - Rick Byrd
Cincinnati Enquirer - January 15, 2000
"DEEPER" WISER AND BETTER
PRESSLEY GIVES MAINSTREAM A NOD, HER LYRICS FILLED WITH LIFE AND LOVE
A Deeper State of Blue moves Janet Pressley closer to mainstream Sarah MacLachlan-style folk pop than the singer-songwriter's more homespun 1997 debut Late Last Night. But the glossier sound created by producer Tyler Brown frames the sadder-but-wiser songs of love and disillusionment.
The disc opens with Ms. Pressley's open-hearted wonder. "Dropping out of the sky is how you came to me". But she's not head over heels. "Were you my angel of paradise, were you my bird of prey?".
Darkest Hour fights clinical depression as the singer declares momentary victory "from the beat of black wings tonight."
Fight the Fall and the lyrical Wonder both find Ms. Pressley searching for the freshness and discovery of new love and trying to keep it alive.
You're the Reason is a bluesy, comic look at a dysfunctional relationship with its punch line, "Darlin', you're the reason that I blame other people."
Shell tells of a couple's growing alienation, couching its disturbing words ("You've got a shell now, I could hardly tell it was you") in a dreamy flow of acoustic guitars.
Horses is even more striking, full of cellist Chris Colleta's dark tone colors and Ms. Pressley's heated poetry ("Straining and stumbling, skin to skin, it's the thundering velvet beckoning").
Last Train is for the Y2K apocalypse, as the singer takes that "last train home".
Loving All My Life ends the disc in a hopeful mood. It's just Ms. Pressley's voice and guitar and Emily Randle's violin, as the singer ponders her future. "I hope my eyes are open and I'm loving all my life". It's a sweet close to an album that deals with the tough problems of real relationships.
- Larry Nager
Cincinnati CityBeat Magazine - January 13-19, 2000
On Friday, one of the city's best singer/songwriters, Janet Pressley, will release A Deeper State of Blue, the follow-up to her mesmerizing debut, Late Last Night. Pressley carries on the haunted vibe of her debut, but Deeper finds her grabbing onto even more memorable melodies, giving a few of the tracks a poppy edge that should help Pressley find an even wider audience. While perhaps more linear, the songs still retain a refreshing soulfulness, thanks largely to Pressley's commanding vocal presence. Each track is buoyed by acoustic guitar, with various local musicians adding their respective strokes to give the songs a full-bodied flavor. Many of Pressley's songs also possess a Blues and Jazz undertow that floats the tracks along with a compelling strut. Standout tracks include the reflective closer Loving All My Life, the gorgeous Shell (with celestial cello ornamentation) and the darkly catchy Dropping Out of the Sky. A Deeper State of Blue is a magnificent piece of work.
- Mike Breen
An all-around enjoyable collection of songs. - Dirty Linen
She delivers acoustic, chart-ready AC on Late Last Night. Vocally, she sounds as if she is revealing secrets. - Geoff Wilbur, Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter
Late Last Night is comparable to some of Mary Chapin Carpenter's more exceptional work, fits together tightly and rocks from start to finish. - Jason Killingworth, PasteMusic.com
Late Last Night showcases Pressley's taut songwriting, nimble acoustic guitar work and warm, throaty vocals. The album reveals Blue Jordan Records' taste for intelligent, thoughtful, and impassioned music. - Don Thrasher, Dayton Voice