This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Besides Terri Schindler-Schiavo's euthanasia court battle, hanging chads and the Elian Gonzalez tug-of-war, Florida could use a little positive press. If folk music has any standing in the Sunshine State and beyond, Florida may just gain some positive press by Carrie Hamby continuing her musical calling.
Residing in the state capital of Tallahassee, Hamby's first release chronicles moments of her adopted state's history, although not always events and situations any chamber of commerce would prefer to see emphasized. She also offers protest and a poignancy on an under-reported, continuing tragedy in Juarez, Mexico, post-1865 child labor slavery, and environmental disasters.
Three hundred or more women have been found murdered in Juarez in the past ten or so years, to little concern of the powers-that-be. In "City Of The Future," Hamby ties these horrific events to economic forces that first bring young women looking for work to the maquiladoras along the Mexico/U.S. border and the subsequent transfer of these jobs to cheaper labor countries in Asia. She ends with:
"...From the Maquiladora Iím running for my life,"Water Table Blues," a "tactile" song about the pleasure derived of orchards and fresh fruit, turns sour when water becomes unavailable is juxtaposed with the upbeat "Sweet Sunny South." The changes in Charlotte County and not recognizing once-familiar places are recounted in "Charlotte." A certain Mister Genovee makes Eberneezer Scrooge seem milquetoast in "One Man In Hell." Hamby sings:
Through the dark morning streets Iím bound to flee
So tell me again how fortunate I am you havenít sent my job out overseas
Overseas Ė your new Juarez is waiting overseas.
"...If there's just one man in hell I think I know himBut she balances all this with a number of songs detailing the ups-and-downs of human relationships.
Gonna start living right, tomorrow
Cause in my dreams I still can see that old boss man coming after me saying
'Kid, you ain't done working what you're owing'
If there's just one man in hell I think I know him..."
"Song In The Meadow" has a widow longingly recalling a husband killed in the war and concludes with her knowing she will meet him again in eternity. Stephen Foster's "Little Annie" is a sweet tune about a young couple, as is "Lowlands."
All of these scenarios are engagingly delivered by Hamby's clear, crisp and sweet vocals. It is a pleasure to listen to her sing.
This is a very enjoyable debut, with a generous 14 songs to savor.
One note of complaint: no lyrics accompany the CD--they must be downloaded from Hamby's web site. It is near impossible to pick up the setting and meaning of a number of the cuts without the song introductions and lyrics. Not everyone has a printer.
Hamby, on vocals, rhythm guitar, accordion and percussion, is backed by Mike Snelling on double bass and lead guitar; Frank Graham on lead and rhythm guitars and harmony vocals; Dennis Hardin on resophonic guitar, banjo and harmony vocals; Angie Prather on harmonh vocals; David Leporati on mandolin and Doug Gauss on harmony vocals.
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