A Major Record Label - AMRLCD 001
P.O. Box 42
Clemson, S.C. 29633
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Clever, subtle and sassy, Carla Ulbrich's initial release has her tendering keen observations on life and relationships. Displaying a sly craftiness, she offers a wink and nod but also a jab or two or three or...as her humor displays an edge that makes the listener laugh at first but then ruminate afterwards.
She opens with "Please Do Something Stupid," a plea for the "perfect" man she has just met to give her a reason to end the relationship. Presently not really wanting or seeking a relationship, she sings:
"...At the dinner table you did not show me your scar
You did not say you were in movies and I could be your star
You didn't show up with your toothbrush expecting you could stay
You never asked how old I was or how much did I weigh
On the way to take me home your car did not run out of gas
You did not stop to hock some loogies off the overpass..."
"...Won't you please do something stupid so I can get over you
If you really cared about me that's the least that you would do..."
"What If Your Girlfriend Was Gone" is a thinly-veiled, possibly worrisome supposition. Ulbrich begins with:
"I was just wondering hypothetically
What would you do? theoretically
If something should happen accidentally or medically
What if your girlfriend was gone?
If she died in a fire from a broken light fixture
Or happened to swallow a poisonous mixture
Would I find my way back in the picture
If you were suddenly alone?...
If she disappeared without a trace
And everyone looked all over the place
Why do you have that look on your face?
It's not like I have any plans!..."
Finishing with a myriad of maladies that could possibly occur, she concludes:
"...Would you walk away from your deep devotion
Put a letter in a bottle and throw it in the ocean
Realize that you've got a notion
To give me my long overdue promotion."
Poking fun at a former date who believes "he was God's gift to the world you can ask him yourself," "Love Connection" details the defeat of a former beau on the game show of the same name:
"You stood real cocky and you flipped your hair
waited for your chance to be put on the air
You answered your questions and you thought you impressed
But all the host had to say was "NEXT"
I shook my head in disbelief
why was I allowed to witness your defeat?
I know I shouldn't revel in other people's harm
Just for a moment I believed in Karma..."
Ulbrich lampoons herself, the unctuousness of some folk genre residents and the current state of country music in "Nothing To Say." She sings:
"I sat and listened to each story
Deep profound evocatory
Courageous men who risked their lives
Love songs written for their wives
And then it was my turn
I took my lyric sheet outside to burn
'cause I had nothing to say...
So I tried to be more serious and get outside my head
But everything worth saying had already been said
My playing is not bursting with originality
I am not the first guitar player to play C G and D...
I do not save the planet not even just one tree
I don't stop abuse of children or even those abusing me
My songs won't work in churches or even at a peace rally
I must have nothing to say..."
She closes with a swipe at the prevailing Nashville sound:
"...Three chords and an easy rhythm
doesn't take much style or wit
I ought to go to Nashville
think I finally have a hit
'cause I have nothing to say"
The melodic but sharply-worded "It Reminds Me Of You" darkens the mood a degree as she moves the microscope over the things--television, chocolate, credit cards, alcohol and relationships--that we employ to fill our time and our minds, and to keep our demons and cravings at momentary bay. Addressing all of these, Ulbrich sings:
"...I'm gonna go cold turkey again
Take a vacation from you my friend
I'll be back...I don't know when
Maybe when I've forgotten again
To remind me of you."
"Not Your Jesus" lays bare the hero-worship seemingly genetically endemic to the human race. Ulbrich torches searching outside ourselves for something or someone else as a panacea for our fears:
So you wanna own a little piece of me
You want something to hold on to
You want my autograph you want my photograph
You wanna live by my philosophy...
But you think I'm some kinda hero
You think I've got the touch
but just like you I'm only ashes to
ashes ashes to ashes to dust
So you think I've got it all together
I can be a great pretender
But the only time I really made a
change in my life
is when I learned to surrender..."
Cheryl Wheeler, both the humorous and serious sides, may indeed soon have company if Ulbrich continues honing her craft. We await "Her Fabulous Encore."
Ulbrich on vocals and guitar is assisted by Jack Williams, who also produced this release, on lead guitar and vocals; Danny Harlow on mandolin; Cary Taylor on bass; Tony Torre on drums; and Chuck Herin on cello.
All songs written by Carla Ulbrich, except as noted.
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