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June 24, 2009

An amazing record with some major talent
Review: Jeremy & Rebecca - What We Leave Behind
Texas Star Tribune
Rod Ames

To be perfectly honest I was quite ready to not like this record. But when I inserted the CD into the player, something else happened. I not just liked the record, I loved it. I've never considered myself much of a mainstream kind of guy, but I recognize talent when I hear it, and it is definitely here.

The Hendricksons set out to produce and finance this entire project without the backing of a major record label even though it sounds as if it were. Mr. Hendrickson jokes the two major investors for their project were MasterCard and Visa.

Musically this duo is all over the place. Nine times out of ten, I'd say there is evidence of a severe identity crisis present on this recording. However, these songs are all so well written, so well produced, and most importantly, so well performed, it all works to come together to create something that sounds like it should all be together. Jeremy Hendrickson has somehow infused all these different genres; blues, jazz, modern country, rock, and pop to form some powerfully upbeat music that we can all enjoy. Mr. Hendrickson's talent for writing and producing plays a huge role for the seemingly seamless flow of the songs from one genre to the next. This is truly an amazing accomplishment for a seasoned veteran let alone someone trying to break through.

I believe a major reason for their success in meeting their goal of creating such a broad project, was the fact they were able to entice a select group of musicians, arrangers, engineers, and vocalists who have worked with major recording artists such as Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, John Mayer, Mary J. Blige, Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, and Chicago. The production values always present on these artist's recordings is present in this work as well. It shines through and makes for an incredible listening experience. The choir arrangements, the string arrangements, etc. all help this to be a very successful compilation of songs that all of us can relate to and enjoy.

I really believe I could sit in a room with my parents whom are in their late 70's and 80's, my youngest son, who is fifteen, and my two adult sons who are in their mid to late 20's and we would all agree there is something for each one of us on this record. That was Jeremy and Rebecca's intention and they absolutely succeed here.

When I read their bio and saw that their songs were all upbeat and family oriented, I have to admit there was a gag reflex, but they very quickly won me over. They succeeded in creating a very upbeat sounding record, and I believe, will appeal to an extremely broad audience.

Rebecca Hendrickson's voice is powerful and able to crossover from genre to genre seamlessly. She can be soulful, she can be country, she can be bluesy, she can be jazzy, and she can even be rock ‘n roll without changing who she is. It's a unique ability that few performers possess. Jeremy and Rebecca harmonize beautifully and complement each other throughout the record. Jeremy sings solo on several cuts and has a great voice as well. This is a very talented duo that very pleasantly surprised this reviewer.

The only negative I could find to this album is the cover. In my opinion it does not give us a good representation of what is to be found on the CD. In fact, had I not already read their bio I would have thought it to be some kind of a down home blue-grass record. My mother always told me "you can't judge a book by its cover"; but mom didn't know about the recording industry. For some people it's the cover that grabs us initially, especially when we are trying to break through. So, I'd say jazz up the cover some. Make it more appealing to a younger demographic. Make them pick it up and give it a listen.

All in all I believe this to be an amazing record with some major talent. After I finished listening to the record I wondered; why haven't I heard of these guys before? I sincerely do expect to hear a lot more from Jeremy and Rebecca in the very near future.