Juice Newton-Every Road Leads Back to You (2002)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Juice Newton (4) (20:04)
Music Video-Love Is Still Alive And Well (4:23)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (59:51)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Brett Nemeroff|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English dts 5.0 (1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It has been a little while since I reviewed a music DVD, and not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the next one that I would do would be from Juice Newton. Talk about your proverbial blast from the past! For those younger readers who might well think country-pop crossover music revolves around the ilk of Shania Twain, Juice Newton emerged during the late 1970s as a crossover artist with a string of hit songs. Perhaps best known for Angel Of The Morning, other great songs included Queen of Hearts, The Sweetest Thing (I Have Ever Known), and Shot Full of Love. Like so many artists, though, she was remembered for that one song and despite a number of very good albums, disappeared from the scene somewhat. Well, it turns out that motherhood was one of the reasons and now she is back with a vengeance with an album and DVD obviously called Every Road Leads Back To You.
One of the really lousy things about the music industry is its infatuation with the new, no matter how untalented the artists are. Yet there are plenty of talented people turning out great music on a regular basis that really don't get the attention they deserve. To some extent, Juice Newton falls into this category. As this DVD shows, she has a great voice and can easily turn her hand to a number of genres - country, pop, folk, rhythm and blues and swing amongst them. Add into the mix simple a capella music, plain acoustic guitar, more traditional guitar country and even small horn section music and you instantly know that you are going to have a varied concert whenever Juice Newton gets on stage. Very much considered a country artist, in actual fact she ranges much further than that small tag. To see her perform here is to reawaken the ear to an artist that has not really been given her due and one that should receive notice way before minor untalented artists of the screech brigade.
Obviously recorded in the relatively intimate Key Club in Los Angeles, this is a very nice showcase for the lady with a selection of songs ranging from the new CD - well, it is all promotional stuff for that purpose - all the way back to the start of her career. With an almost effortless ease, Juice comfortably takes us on this journey and I for one was happy to go along for the ride. Her CDs might well be nigh on impossible to find in music stores in this country but this reminds us just what sort of quality awaits when you take the time to find them. The new stuff sits well with the rest of her musical history and whilst she might not be dominating the charts anymore, she is producing music that is easy on the ear and liable to last for longer than any of the screech brigade. Sit down, mellow out and listen to as diverse a concert as you are likely to hear nowadays and wonder why there was not more! For that is the only real complaint here - at 77 minutes, you just wish that there was another half hour or so of the concert.
|1. Your Heart Is Showing|
2. Love Sail Away
3. I'm So Hurt/Break It To Me Gently
4. The Trouble With Angels
5. Red Blooded American Girl
6. You Make Me Want/Cheap Love
7. Every Road Leads Back To You
8. Shot Full Of Love
|9. Ride'm Cowboy|
10. This Old Flame
11. The Sweetest Thing I've Ever Known
12. They Never Made It To Memphis
13. Angel Of The Morning
14. Queen Of Hearts
15. Night Time Without You
16. It's Late
As usual with a concert video, the stage lighting plays all sorts of tricks with the video quality. Apart from the usual issues with blue stage lighting creating an oversaturated look to the transfer as times, this concert has a slightly different problem. There was obviously a fixed camera being used for the frontal shots of the complete stage and it appears that this was either not focused especially well or was extremely sensitive to the overhead stage lighting that highlighted Juice Newton and to a lesser extent the other front stage players. The result is some fairly poorly defined shots that are a little hard on the eyes to watch. This is clearly a source material problem and I do question why the footage was used as at times it is very poor. Still, apart from that and the usual concert video problems, this is not at all a bad transfer.
Unusually presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1, the transfer is unfortunately not 16x9 enhanced. Quite why the 1.75:1 ratio was used is a mystery, then to not use 16x9 enhancement, especially as it would seem that the picture might be matted to that ratio. There are certainly quite a few times where Juice Newton's head is chopped off a little by the framing and it would cast serious doubts as to the competency of the cameramen if this was actually how the concert was shot.
Like most concert videos there are the odd lapses in focus, some of the artistic shots end up being washed out by intense stage lighting and the general definition varies enormously as a result of whether the camera is pointing at the lights or away from the lights. Overall though, this is not a bad transfer. Sure it has these problems but by no means to the lousy extent that has been seen in other concert videos and usually the instances are very short-lived. If the rule of thumb is that if it captures the feeling of the concert then it is acceptable, then this transfer passes. Definition is generally very good, shadow detail is better than usual and clarity is very good. The only issue in the latter area is just a modicum of grain which is present here and there but nothing to really detract from the show. There does not appear to be any low level noise issues of any concern.
There is nothing really awry with the colours within the context of the genre that we are considering here. Yes, everything has a bluish tinge to it in general, but there isn't much that we can do about the stage lighting. Everything seems to be nicely saturated and when the stage lighting allows, everything seems to be quite vibrant, too. There is a lack of depth to the blacks on the odd occasion be nothing that really warrants complaint. There is a slight oversaturation problem whenever the blue stage lighting predominates but that is the extent of the saturation or bleed problems.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although one pan shot at 20:21 is lacking a little in resolution. To be fair, this is more than likely source material originated than transfer originated. Surprisingly for a concert video, there is little in the way of obvious issues with aliasing or other film-to-video artefacts here. At worst, there is just the odd issue with the usual culprits - guitar strings, microphone leads and so on - but truly this is one of the best concert videos I have seen in this regard. There are no issues with film artefacts here.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 59:51. This is an excellently placed change for the simple reason that before Red Blooded American Girl and Angel Of The Morning, there are short interview snippets about the song. The layer change occurs just at the end of the snippet before Angel Of The Morning, before the song commences and is therefore completely non-disruptive to the concert. A neat way of handling the change.
Disappointingly, there are no subtitle options on the DVD.
Another reason why it is good to check out a music DVD is that I get to sample a choice of three excellent soundtracks. Just be aware that despite the menu selections, there are no 5.1 soundtracks on the DVD - they are actually 5.0 soundtracks. Whoever made the decision to drop the LFE channels should be given a pay rise in my view. This is music that does not require an LFE channel and leaving them out of the mixes has left us with excellent fidelity and balance.
The three soundtracks are Dolby Digital 5.0, Dolby Digital 2.0 and dts 5.0 efforts. I listened to the 5.0 soundtracks almost in their entirety whilst only sampling the 2.0 soundtrack.
The vocals and dialogue are very easy to hear and understand. There is no indication at all of any audio sync issues.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is pretty much what we expect from this sort of configuration. Similar in sound to a compact disc, there is the usual lack of dynamic when compared to the 5.0 soundtracks, but otherwise it is a most excellent effort if you cannot sample the other efforts. An interesting note is that the four audio-only tracks included as bonuses on the DVD are encoded in Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 sound and comparisons between the Dolby Digital 2.0 format and the Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 format are interesting.
The Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack is very nice indeed. Whilst the opening introductory portion of the DVD is rather weirdly balanced - intentionally so I might add as it is also the same in the dts soundtrack - and sounds very flat and rear channel only, once the concert kicks in everything changes. The surround channel use is excellent and the use of the rear channels especially is well handled. Audience ambience is all out of the rears and whilst it does not quite give you the feeling that you are in the concert audience, the sound is not that far short of doing so. Juice Newton's vocals are carried strongly across the front channels and the soundtrack really helps to demonstrate what a fine instrument her voice is. This is really a very nice sounding soundtrack that does everything necessary to make the concert experience an enjoyable one.
The dts 5.0 soundtrack is a stunner - but not for the reasons that would normally be the case. The lack of any significant bass in the five channels is immediately noticeable for those used to the dts format. What makes it so noticeable though is not the lack of the bass but rather the impressive fidelity and balance there is in the soundtrack as a result. In many ways, this is one of the best - if not the best- demonstration of what dts can do. The separation in the sound is superb, so that the instruments all come to you in a very natural way, superbly complementing the vocals. This is especially the case with the bass guitar, which rather than dominating the overall concert sound is actually very reserved in the overall mix - exactly the way it is supposed to be in music such as this. The balance in the soundtrack is one of the best I have heard from a dts soundtrack. Whoever mixed this deserves the highest accolades possible. An excellent example overall of less is more.
|Surround Channel Use|
Rounding out the DVD package is a more than acceptable extras package, one that enhances the concert in many ways.
Minor audio and animation enhancement notwithstanding, a nice simple effort. After the concert, the mastering takes you straight to the special features menu - a nice touch that I always appreciate.
When seeing the menu selections for this - Growing Up, On The Road, Song Writing and Influence and Excitement - I was to some extent expecting the worst - short interview stuff of no real consequence basically. Fortunately, this is anything but, and I found this twenty minute effort very interesting. Filmed in several sessions, they not only feature Juice Newton but also Otha Young (her musical partner) and her husband Tom amongst others. What you get from this twenty minutes is an insight into and the importance of the music from Juice Newton's perspective and the important influences on her life, musical and otherwise. Well worth checking out. Presented in a full frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.
Not so much a music video as an additional song recorded at the concert, this is in the same vein as the main programme other than it being presented in a full frame format (confirming the matted nature of the main programme perhaps?) and with only Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The only issue with it is a slight jitter in the picture at 1:58.
These are taken directly from the companion CD as the songs are clearly studio recordings. The four songs are Love Is Still Alive And Well, If I Could I Would, Every Road Leads Back To You and Your Heart Is Showing. They play over a still of the front cover of the DVD (and presumably the CD) and in Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 sound. Excellent stuff and as a sampler for the CD, does its job very well indeed. Now if only I can find a music store that has the CD in stock! Mind you, I would love to hear this sort of music on DVD-Audio - I reckon it would be terrific.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as can be ascertained, this is pretty much identical to the Region 1 release. Given the relative prices and the exchange rate, Region 4 would be the way to go.
Whilst fans of Juice Newton will need no excuse to go out and indulge in this excellent DVD, the rest are probably sitting there wondering why they should indulge in it. Well, apart from some wonderful soundtracks accompanying a better-than-average video transfer, the simple fact of the quality of the music is what should appeal. Easy to listen to, the older tracks will have you remembering an earlier time when radio was actually worth listening to because the music was worth listening to. The newer stuff will simply confirm that this is no fly-by-night talentless jerk. Juice Newton might not be the most well-known female artist around nowadays but long after we have tossed aside the ilk of Britney, Christina and the other midriff queens, we will be returning to quality music as is found on this DVD. Highly recommended.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|