One might well wonder what has happened to the middle of the road in these days of musical conformity. Indeed one might, as those voices that could sing anything and make it all sound good no longer rise to prominence as they did when Tetley made decent teabags. Maybe Ellyn Oliver is about to fill that artistic gap with her EP “Arms Wide Open”?
She might well have done just that. Five songs are what you get and, in that short time, your ears quickly become accustomed to Ellyn Oliver’s precise and honest intonations. Sure, she sounds like a wedding band singer on “Diamonds or Gold” but a very good one and that is, in truth, what the song needs so you can’t really criticise a girl for that. Of perhaps greater interest are the last two songs on this EP that succeed in giving gospel music of today a good name and, perhaps unsurprisingly, provide Ellyn Oliver with her true chance to shine.
Ellyn Oliver won’t scare your maiden aunt or cause the world to end on a wet Thursday yet there is something comforting, and even rewarding, about listening to a singer who understands songs. “Arms Wide Open” therefore provides a very pleasant way to pass the time.
Best song? Her cover of “Wayfaring Stranger”.
The verdict? Middle of the road is a good place to be when the light shines upon you.