Andi Fawcette - Say It AnywayI've been waiting for this day to arrive for a very long time -- 10 years (give or take), to be exact. That was when I first heard Andi Fawcett sing with the band Relish.

Since then, Fawcett's been involved in a couple of other music projects, but I always knew the day would come when she'd put out a solo record. That's because her voice is one of best I've heard, and with it, she's crafted 11 stirring, intimate songs that are the heart and soul of "Say It Anyway."

"West Coast" is the opening track: "Now we sit out on front porches smoking cigarettes/ They're like tiny torches lighting our regrets/ And I feel a million miles away from myself/ I think I could use your help." The thing about Fawcett's voice is that it is so tender, yet it burns with an emotional intensity that tattoos her lyrics.

"Puddle" is my current favorite. It speaks the blunt force of loneliness of one person that is assuaged by the reassurance of another: "All you gotta do is face east/ And you will see me and everyone here that's missing all the joy you bring/ But trust me, this is how it should be/ You know the ocean's just a puddle if you want it to be."

"You May Be" is another example of Fawcett's ability to nail the human heart's condition with laser-beam poignancy: "You may be the one thing that makes me believe in the mystery of space and time."

Fawcett's also a terrific guitarist, and with Justin Maxwell on bass, strings, keyboards and percussion, the record shines like a new penny in the sunshine. A CD-release show is set for 9 p.m. Friday at The Big Easy in Portland. There's a $6 cover.

"Say it Anyway" was produced by Fawcett, Justin Maxwell and Kate Strait. Maxwell did the mixing, and Bob Colwell did the mastering. The CD is available at Bull Moose Music stores. - AIMSEL L. PONTI - Portland Press Herald