Music Review: Edie Carey – Bring the Sea

Hi!

Raised on folk music in a house of musicians, I often wonder what my life would be like without that background. Peter, Paul, and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, and the Moody Blues are among those I can recall from my early days. All put an emphasis on storytelling, melody, and harmony.

Through high school, college, and beyond, I have found other artists who emphasize the same qualities. Singer/songwriters like Shawn Colvin, David Wilcox, the Indigo Girls, Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlan, Michael Hedges, and Brandi Carlile have been added to my CD collection over the years, and I continue to find more and more artists with folk, Americana, or even Bluegrass influences. Finding a new artist adds yet more fuel to the fire for the soundtrack in my head…

So let me now add Edie Carey to the list. Her soulful voice and storytelling style instantly made me think of Shawn Colvin, so she fits right in. She’s been performing on stages in the US & Canada and as far away as the UK since 1998. How I’ve managed to miss her previous six albums in the last 12 years is beyond me, but I’m not missing her seventh – Bring the Sea.

Beyond the fact that Bring the Sea features Edie’s amazingly expressive voice, the album also has a few other voices and performances you might recognize. Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket), multi-instrumentalist Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls), and violinist Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Laurie Anderson). The album, produced by Evan Brubaker, was funded entirely by her fans, which is an incredible feat. But since they already knew her, they probably just knew they wanted to hear more of Edie’s music.

Edie’s songs seem to be about her relationships and experiences. Love and loss echo through all our lives and she has a gift like all great storytellers.

My favorite is “On & On” with it’s light guitar picking, about a baby and wishes all parents and good souls have for youngsters… And for some reason, she had to let the baby go… “I know you’re not really mine; you were my child; you were my baby; you were mine for a time… No, I’m not crying ; Now you’re flying, flying…” Most of us have been touched by a child at some time in our lives, whether our own or not. And it reminds us that life goes on and on…

“Waiting” is another favorite, featuring backing vocals from Glen Phillips. Singing of the love we spend our lives looking for – “but I still believe, and you’re my answer why; my heart was tired, a faded paper valentine; now my heart’s a child, racing crazy every time.” We’re all waiting… Accompanied by Jonathan Kingham on piano and Eyvind Kang on viola, the layers tugged at my emotions and that longing.

The album ends “With You Now” reminds me of my own relationship with my wife – a passionate, spontaneous woman. I’m the reasonable, calm one here. And yet the relationship works. “You, the quiet one – let’s talk until we’re done – when the red sun goes black…” and “You brought the mountains, I’ll bring the sea” – but “I am with you now…” Accompanied again by Kang on viola, there’s just enough strings, guitar and piano to keep the melody rising and falling like waves…

Edie will be another one for me to watch in the years to come, and I may have to find a few of her previous albums. Be sure to check out Bring the Sea and take a look at Edie’s website for tour dates and other info!

–Fitz

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What’s coming up (October 3, 2010)?

Hi all…

I thought I’d start a new weekly post about what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to so you’d have an idea of what’s next on the review front…

Book-wise, I’ve been splitting my time between Eadric the Grasper – Sons of Mercia, Volume 1 by Jayden Woods and Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Mark Twain/Dan Borchert. I’m about halfway through Eadric now and finding it to be extremely well written, but dense. So I’m only able to read a chapter or two at a time before I have to set it down and ponder what I’ve read. Tom Sawyer and the Undead has been an easy read and been quite entertaining so far – I’m nearly done with it.

Music-wise, I have a few albums I’m dividing my time between. The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead, Paula Cole‘s Ithaca, and the upcoming releases Bring the Sea by Edie Carey and Dave KozHello Tomorrow. Each of these brings a very different style and passion to the table, but hopefully I can get a few reviews written this week.

DVD-wise, I have He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown to check out this week and just watched Iron Man 2 on Blu-ray last night. I love the Peanuts, so I’m sure that will continue to be a classic. Unfortunately, though Iron Man 2 was fun in spots, it still wasn’t as good as the first one.

So that’s where I’m at. I received a few more new books to review last week, so I’m a bit behind in my reviews and need to get cracking!

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great weekend!

–Fitz

p.s. Check out these titles and let me know what you think or if you have anything you’d like me to review!

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Music Review: James Maddock – Sunrise on Avenue C

Hi all…

Who knew it was possible to sing cheerfully about heartache? James Maddock has certainly had his share. He had a taste of stardom in 2000 and then hit bottom as he adjusted to life in the States, saw his marriage fail, and had his record label decide to drop him and not release his follow-up album to Songs from Stamford Hill with his band Wood. After that round of bad luck, Maddock disappeared from the limelight. But he didn’t give up during the last 10 years.

In 2009, Maddock came back and is telling stories through the tracks of Sunrise on Avenue C. Each of the twelve songs tells a bit of the story about a relationship beginning, waning, and possibly ending. It’s a rare thing to find an album crafted to be listened to beginning to end. But when you find such an album, I feel you should enjoy it the way it was meant to be heard instead of picking and choosing individual songs.

These songs have a little of everything – strings, guitar, piano – and beautifully constructed melodies and lyrics. It’s obvious he took his time getting this effort “just right” before releasing it to the public.

Among my favorites is the title song “Sunrise on Avenue C” which expresses the doubts in all relationships and the little restarts we go through now and then to keep love alive. Maddock’s breathless voice sings… “We came to make this place our home / you say you’ve had enough you’re movin’ on / … / you say nothing’s quite the way it seems / forget the past, we’ll start our lives again / don’t shake your head ’cause baby I know we can…” I think all lasting relationships have those moments and the rise and fall of the song captures those rises and falls in relationships nicely.

“When You Go Quiet” is another of my favorites. “There’s one thing that you do when you’re not ok / you don’t bang on the walls / you don’t return my calls / when you go quiet… it’s when I know you need to talk… ” Again, Maddock’s captured one of those universal truths in most relationships – those little things we keep an eye out for that indicate something’s not right. And it’s then we need to listen and find out what’s wrong. Tough to pass up a little relationship advice in a song.

All through the album, the music is consistently excellent. From the upbeat piano of “Chance” to the amazing guitar and strings rhythms of “Hollow Love” and the rock/blues guitar of “Straight Lines,” Maddock has put together a relationship album weaving together a tapestry of stories and tunes from beginning to end.

So if you’ve been wondering what happened James Maddock since he hit the airwaves in 2000 and toured with the likes of Paula Cole and Train, look no further… James Maddock is back and in rare form with Sunrise on Avenue C.

Be sure to check out his website for album and tour details at JamesMaddock.net.

–Fitz

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