If Brian Gari's previous album, Love Online, was about a couple that met together on the net and tried to make it work, I Can't Make You Free is the story of a love affair that divides a marriage in two. Gari's trick, which is quite clever, is to divide the album in two the first half told by the man who falls in love with a married woman, the second by the husband, with the fulcrum of the album, "Two Men," sung by Alison Fraser, in the character of the wife. As such, I Can't Make You Free winds up being a fairly ambitious work, and it's to his credit (as well as his collaborator, producer/arranger/engineer Jeff Olmsted) as a craftsman that it works quite well. Much of the record is firmly in a soft-rock, singer/songwriter tradition, yet it carries the distinct influence of Burt Bacharach and Brian Wilson, which gives the album a lushness even when the tracks aren't overly dressed. Gari also is nimble in varying the sound, dabbling in jazz, classic vocal pop, epic pop/rock and stark, piano-based ballads. The music has as much of a narrative thrust as the story itself, which helps make the entire album compelling and a unique feat.

Billboard Magazine calls the album 'a tunefulness throughout'...Gari's songs don't envelop the listener in self-pity and at times offer memories of a more pleasant past. Vocalist Alison Fraser has a solo with touching sweetness on "Two Men."'

Subway Sandwich (who does make the best heros!) has a site where they spotlight special albums. Here's what Rosanne Hoagland had to say:

Emotional Dexterity and Lyrical Superiority

Sometimes the best or most beautiful music comes in the most simplistic form. Each of Brian's tunes are a short vignette of life's little aches, pains and disappointments; from broken hearts to no show dads. His love songs touch a nerve with any listener. Brian's well-developed style is dripping with emotion yet sorrow is forgotten. The listener is brought to an understanding of the story being told without being "brought down" by the lyrics that accompany his fine musical arrangements.

Comparable to old fashion folk music, Brian Gari's music has a city flavor to it, making his style far superior to the genre's traditional country feel. This truly puts Brian in a class by himself. Whether his music is about the city or the country, it has a soothing quality that makes it perfect for that quiet time needed after a hard day's work. I CAN'T MAKE YOU FREE is one album that would make a nice addition to any music collection. This exceptional album was produced and arranged by Brian Gari and Jeff Olmsted.

Celebrated drummer Hal Blaine says "Your love songs are still the greatest but they make me cry!"

Brian Gari's "I Can't Make You Free" Hails Exceptional! Review by Jack Ciaramella

Even with a busy year of producing and re-releasing Cantor material, not to mention the involvement of so many other projects, Brian Gari managed to release his latest creation "I Can't Make You Free". This official ( or perhaps unofficial ) follow up to his last release "Love Online" simply captured my heart. Each and every one of the 18 selections ( along with a few hidden instrumental treats) touched home for me. The lyrics, so beautifully written, compliment the fine musical arrangements. The time and effort Brian shared with co-producer and partner Jeff Olmsted, no doubt, proves to be of great measure! This, I must say, ranks as one of Brian's best compilations to date- a well-developed style indeed on Mr. Gari's behalf. Ballad after ballad, heartbreak after heartbreak, a must for anyone who's ever been in love-or out of it for that matter!

ALAN COLMES/Hannity & Colmes Fox News Channel NYC December 24, 1999

I have been followng Brian Gari's career for years, having seen him perform in Manhattan's comedy and music clubs. It is gratifying to see someone whose work you admire get better with each new release. Brian's haunting melodies and precicely-worded phrases stay with me long after even one listen to songs like "Limited Time" and "That Car". Like fine wine, Brian's music gets better with age, and each new work shows greater depth and more intriguing nuances. I hope that more people learn of his music and that he gains the recognition his music deserves.

STEPHEN McPARLAND from Australia December 17, 1999

This new CD from New Yorker Brian Gari is the latest in a long line of interesting, enjoyable and classy CDs that always sound fresh and inviting. Gari's latest offering, I CAN'T MAKE YOU FREE contains all the Gari hallmarks - interesting lyric lines and marvellous melodies - that always having you coming back for more. As usual, Gari covers a variety of topics with his musical dexterity, all of which come from the heart. If you are looking for something that is not run of the mill, this is it. You will not be disappointed.

KENNY MORSE aka Mr. Traffic KRLA Radio from Los Angeles December 17, 1999

I have heard Brian's previous CD (Love Online)which is about a cyber romance, and thought he was a super talented guy. This is kind of a follow up to that CD (but if you've not heard it...this does stand alone fine). He writes about stuff we all can realted to in our new cyber world and the relationships that form (or fail) from it, and his songs are catchy. Talented guy. I'm a fan now.

PAUL EVANS December 17, 1999

This is a great follow-up CD to Mr. Gari's last CD, "Love Online". The songs are well written and performed, and the tracks are obviously produced with great care and thought. Mr. Gari's affair-of-the-heart continues. Stage producers - pay attention!

KIRK O'GREEN Michigan December 17, 1999

Great continuation from his previous CD "Love On Line". Lush arrangements, great lyrics...a true storyteller. One of the few out there writing real songs - no fluff here! Check it out.

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