A Review of the CD
"The Border of Heaven"
by Connie Dover


"The Border of Heaven"
by Connie Dover

Copyright 2000
Taylor Park Music - TPMD0401
P.O. Box 12381
North Kansas City, Missouri 64116
ph: (816) 455-5524
fax: (816) 842-0025
http://www.conniedover.com and
mailto:tpmusic@concentric.net

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
http://www.kevindmccarthy.com/music/index.html
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Connie Dover has always possessed an exquisite voice as anyone who has heard her can attest. What sets her apart from other angelic voices in the folk and celtic music genre are the moments of stunning beauty that suddenly appear within her songs, when time literally stops and heads turn. "Wondrous Love," "Brother Green," "My Dearest Dear" and "I Am Going To The West" contain but a few of these moments on this release.

Dover also possesses the ability to imbue authentic emotion into her songs as her music is not just a series of impressive vocal exercises. She sets out to affect listeners, carefully choosing material and backing, in combination with her vocals. Her rendition of "The Water Is Wide" is such an example. The delicate work of Phil Cunningham on piano and Jerry Douglas on Weissenborn guitar dramatically increase the power and effect of this often-presented tune, combining with Dover's vocals to make it seem as if new.

What Dover has done here is present the melding of music carried over to this country by emigrants from the celtic lands, with the sense and sentiment of early American West. Assuredly presenting Scottish and Irish Gaelic cuts, impressively interpreting hymns, offering variations of traditional tunes, nothing hits a false note here.

Opening with "The Blessing," the forced emigration of the Scottish Highlanders is depicted in Scots Gaelic. Dover's singing beautifully but sorrowfully captures the pain of such family and community uprootings.

With words and music by Dover, "I Am Going To The West" is another tale of immigration. Back by Cunningham on piano, Johnny Cunningham on fiddle, Jerry O'Sullivan on uilleann pipes and Zan McLeod on guitar, she sings:

Dover shares vocals with Skip Gorman on "The Streets Of Laredo." She sings the first half of the lyrics, which she wrote, and Gorman completes the tune with the traditional lyrics.

An adaptation of an American shape note hymn, the enchanting "Wondrous Love" seems almost as if created with Dover in mind. This devotional opens with:

She closes:

The rhythmic and bouncy "Winter's Night," with John Hartford on banjo and Skip Gorman on fiddle is a unrequited love cut, this time with the woman in question leaving her would-be suitor in the lurch. "My Dearest Dear" continues on in this vein:

The tearful "Brother Green" is an American Civil War song. With Irish fighting on both sides in the conflict, Dover, backed by Jerry Douglas on dobro, sings:

The special attention given to the liner notes deserve mention. Each song title and accompanying lyrics are presented in a different font, along with a full-length explanation of the background for each tune. Nothing is given short shrift on this release.

Dover on vocals is backed by Russ Barenburg on guitar; Bob Burns on upright bass and bowed bass; John Catchings on cello; Phil Cunningham on piano, accordion, keyboard, penny whistles and guitar; Jerry Douglas on dobro and weissenborn guitar; Craig Duncan on hammered dulcimer; Skip Gorman on vocals, guitar and fiddle; John Hartford on banjo; Roger Landes on bouzouki and guitar; Paddy League on percussion; Zan McLeod on guitar; Jerry O'Sullivan on uilleann pipes; Dave Pomeroy on fretless bass; and Arthur Shortbull on eagle bone whistle.

Track List:


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