The day has finally arrived. Sylvia Leal Kirk has released a compact disc which features one of the greatest female singing voices ever heard in these parts. It comes as no surprise to me that Sylvia’s firtst cd is probably the finest piece of recorded music that I have ever heard.
I’ve been saying it for the 32 years that Sylvia’s bell-true voice has been ringing through the beer joints, eateries, bistros, and private party halls of San Antonio and South Texas:
Nobody can sing like Sylvia.
She has been compared with Bonnie Rait, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmy Lou Harris, but Sylvia Kirk has a sound all her own.
Cecil Thomason, now a Dallas musician who worked San Antonio stages with Sylvia for almost 20 years, told us back in 1981:
“Her voice has an outstanding tone. Even back when she was offkey she sounded good. She’s one of those rare vocalists who sounds good all of the time.”
In an age when everyone who can hit an open G chord on a guitar has recorded a cd, Sylvia sort of backed into her 10-song recording titled On a Clear Day.
Credit Jartse Tuominen, Finnish guitar wizard, arranger and music producer with helping to bring this recording about. His arranging, engineering, and slick but tastefully subtle guitar rifts complete what I consider a masterpiece.
The vocals, as always, display an incredible blend of pitch, tone, and voice control.
Sylvia has always been shy as a baby cottontail, and nothing has changed in that category. She is shy, sentimental, emotional, and as humble and unassuming as a female version of Saint Francis, but none of this detracts from the powerful pipes that caught the Finn ‘s ear.
“Jartse was helping me get ready to play a wedding with Rick Cavander,” Sylvia recalls. “We had this one particular song we liked, and Jartse laid down a verbal track on his computer so I could practice doing it on guitar. One thing led to another, and Jartse suggested I do the CD.”
By Sam Kindrick (excerpts from “Action Magazine” November 2012 issue)