This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Emotional connections. Those visible and invisible, spoken and unspoken bindings in relationships. The road maps that sometimes finally appear, do so too often after an attachment has been irretrieveably broken. These matters and more are the thematic premises reflectively covered by Houston-based Denice Franke.
Possessing a warm, charming voice, Franke also displays captivating songwriting skills and a knack for adding touches of saxophone, violin, piano or guitar that rachet up the overall effect of each cut on this release. Her vocals are strong and pure--she effortlessly delivers each composition but with a compelling presence. Her lyrical talent extends beyond the directly literal--she provides touches on each song that veer away from the typical north-south-east-west directional tracks employed by some songwriters.
Opening with the subdued and respectful "Saints," Franke weaves her touching lyrics around guitar, saxophone and keyboards. As she depicts the last passage of life in an inventive manner, her re-employment of the line "when the saints goes marchin' in" is a genuinely sublime choice.
With shimmering and soft electric guitar and piano backing on "Rainy Night Detroit," Franke sings of pain, forgiveness and the path to resolution. Opening with:
Gene Elders' haunting violin accentuates the effect of "Foolin' Myself," a mournful tune with a harsh twist at the end. Addressing her partner, Franke asks:
"What would you say to me if I said,
'don't need your strength right now
I've found my own way on my own time..."
On "Old Love Keeps on Burning" Franke dramatizes the fires of love, especially lost love in this case, sometimes turning into the fires of hell. Often those flames never extinguish, just smoldering away forever. She sings:
I was once your child
and you were all I had
and I was all you thought you
But choices take their toll
you learn what you're told
and you are getting older...
so am I..."
Franke, on acoustic guitar and vocals, is backed by Glenn Fukunaga on electric bass; Eric Demmer on saxophone; Gene Elders on violin; Mike Sumler on piano and electric guitar; Paul Pearcy on percussion; Iain Matthews on supporting vocals; and Tommie Lee Jackson on supporting vocals.
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