20 May 2019
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Jan Hellriegel - Album Review: Sportsman Of The Year

06 May 2019 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Jan Hellriegel is somewhat of an NZ musical icon, Songwriter, performer, producer, music publisher, copyright expert, mother and now author she has a name many of us of a certain age would have heard of. Her latest body of work Sportsman Of The Year appears to be a defining moment in not only her musical life, but also her personal one. A glorious twelve track album with mini stories attached and an autobiographical style book of twelve chapters based on the collection of songs. A “musical in a book” if you will. This may be her most significant work to date.

Hellriegel has been part of the rich fabric that weaves the NZ music scene since 1989, grabbing major label Warner Music NZ's attention with her indie pop-rock band Cassandras Ears. However, by 1991 Jan had left the band and signed to Warner as a solo artist. She left the music label in 1997 and went out on her own. From that point onwards Hellriegel’s solo achievements have gone from strength to strength, ebbing and flowing, gathering momentum, producing some very fine albums in her musical career.

All paths eventually have led to these published words. The songs are a personal narrative, each one telling a different story. This is a soundtrack to her life.

Soul barring honesty shines through in each track. Sportsman Of The Year is a rich offering of beautifully composed and produced music combined with illuminating storytelling. I got the vibe that once Jan had it into her head she was going to make this album, the words just kept flowing. Overflowing into a 220 page book.

This entire body of work highlights just how resilient Hellriegel is, her strength and persistence has most definitely paid off in this stunning album. Listening to her vocals instantly took me back in time. I have respected her music for many years; this is like a feast if you are fan, a banquet of music, lyrics and words. I feel like I got to know her through her life experiences in song.

Jan can be heard playing the piano on many of the tracks and can be quoted as saying “I wrote a lot of the songs on the piano this time so I thought I might as well play it too”. Neptune has an original and captivating arrangement. Almost mythical. This track gives you good dose of her strong piano playing.

My personal favourite track is For The Love Of Glory. It is incredibly catchy with a slightly Middle Eastern flavour and a very real tale of chasing that elusive fame and glory. This track is irresistibly addictive.

Her usual core crew of musicians helped shape what is her fourth studio album. Wayne Bell, producer, Daniel Denholm, mix, Oliver Harmer, engineer and mastering, Mark Hughes, bass guitar and Brett Adams, guitar. Together they have produced a very clean and cohesive sound which is without a doubt very polished, professional and indeed as “fine an album as anything in Jan Hellriegel’s illustrious career”.

The package of music and words which Hellriegel has launched out into the world has been delivered with grace. This lady has the fortitude, and strength to survive in a tough industry. She is a survivor.

Sportsman Of The Year nails home that she is not only a musician but a talented wordsmith as well. I am basing this on the incredible lyrics which accompany each song; the book must be a remarkable read.

This unique compendium of words and song is a wonderfully rich and glorious offering of her life’s journey. A woven tapestry of captivating stories in musical form. There is also a podcast series in conjunction with Radio NZ, each episode representing a song from the album and a chapter from the book.

This is an empowering and imperishable Rock/Pop album. Five great big solid gold stars from me.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Jan Hellriegel

Jan Hellriegel was born in West Auckland to a family of six. While it is true that she worked at her father's panelbeaters (A.F. Hellriegel Panelbeaters Ltd) it was, contrary to popular legend, in the office and not pumping iron. Nonetheless, she has always been the New Zealand media's 'Westie' darling.

Jan moved to Dunedin to attend Otago University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, and met up with the friends who would later become Cassandra's Ears. Jan also took vocal training in Speech and Singing at Sister Mary Leo.

At this point she joined her brother Rob's band, Working With Walt, and sang on their 1985 EP '4 Sides', even writing one song, 'Christina', and playing guitars. Between 1989 and 1991 Cassandra's Ears formed to record a song for a Dunedin rock compilation, 'Weird Culture Weird Custom'. Their song The Replacements was released by National Student Radio. The band played local gigs, wrote more material, and eventually released two popular records, 'Private Wasteland' and 'Your Estimation'.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jan Hellriegel

Releases

All The Best Thoughts
Year: ????
Type: EP
Sportsman of the Year
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Lost Songs
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Melusine
Year: 2010
Type: EP
All Grown Up
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Tremble
Year: 1995
Type: Album
It's My Sin
Year: 1993
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Corinne Rutherford

Bailey Wiley - Single Review: Between The Lines
15 May 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
Auckland based RnB sensation with the breath-taking soulful voice; Bailey Wiley has just released her latest single Between The Lines. This track gives fans a glimpse inside Bailey's mind as she falls in love.
Read More...
Jacquie Walters and James Wilkinson - Single Review: Spaces Between Words
25 Apr 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
Nelson based singer songwriter Jacquie Walters is about to release an alluring new single Spaces Between Words, featuring James Wilkinson on bass and Jacquie on guitar and vocals. Jacquie and James have shared many musical memories spanning over 25 years.
Read More...
Skinny Hobos - EP Review: Lucifer
17 Apr 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
Two-piece NZ Rock sensation Skinny Hobos are back again with another epic offering in the form of a 6 track EP titled Lucifer. I am not sure if these guys ever sleep, consistently releasing top quality recordings of the most excellent kind.
Read More...
ZÖ - EP Review: War
17 Apr 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
ZO (Zoe Jennings) is a musical artist from Whangarei but she is currently based in Wellington. She has just released her first EP War.
Read More...
Louis Baker - Single/Video Review: The People
15 Apr 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
Wellington based independent singer/songwriter Louis Baker has just released a gorgeous heart-felt single The People. His smooth soulful voice delighting us yet again with a taste of what’s to come from his long-awaited debut album, due to be released later this year.
Read More...
Sam Loveridge - Album Review: Clarity
11 Apr 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
Hot on the heels of his single release Better Days, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sam Loveridge  has revealed to the world his 11 track debut album Clarity. Sam has been around for a while now, on the Auckland folk circuit.
Read More...
Gig Review: Aro @ The Jam Factory, Tauranga – 30/03/2019
31 Mar 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
It was a glorious evening in Tauranga last night, the sun set in a stunning blaze of glory casting an orange glow over the village. As people started to arrive to see Aro, we all gathered on the deck to watch the beautiful sunset accompanied by Canadian geese in perfect formation flying above us.
Read More...
The Settlers - EP Review: Speech
29 Mar 2019 // by Corinne Rutherford
The Settlers are a thriving hip-hop crew from Lyttleton Harbour in Christchurch. This is the band’s latest body of work, an EP called Speech.
Read More...
View All Articles By Corinne Rutherford

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • OLD TOWN ROAD (REMIX)
    Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
  • I DON'T CARE
    Ed Sheeran And Justin Bieber
  • BAD GUY
    Billie Eilish
  • IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU
    Shawn Mendes
  • TALK
    Khalid And Disclosure
  • HOMICIDE
    Logic feat. Eminem
  • SOMEONE YOU LOVED
    Lewis Capaldi
  • 3 NIGHTS
    Dominic Fike
  • SUNFLOWER
    Post Malone And Swae Lee
  • WOW.
    Post Malone
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem