A Review of the CD
"Where The Mangoes Are"
by Kate McDonnell

"Where The Mangoes Are"
by Kate McDonnell

Produced by Scott Petito
Copyright 2004 - Appleseed 1085
Appleseed Records
P.O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380
ph: (610)701-5755

This review written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/05
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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It's been a while since Kate McDonnell's last new release, 2001 to be exact. Well, she's back with a new set of songs focused on a variety of relationships, including one cut that amazingly captures the times we live in.

That song is "Mercy" and its subject matter spans personal safety, isolation, collateral damage, political media packaging, and our ethnocentrism that makes the lives of strangers not of our clan less worthwhile than our own. If nothing else (which is highly unlikely) its engaging rhythm will grab you. Two lines stand out:
"...to hear the news you'd think there's no people here but us..."
Plus, cleverly employing a slightly changed phrase:
"...my neighborhood gets smaller as Bush comes to shove..."
This is a song people will remember, a song whose subject matter will spark discussion and debate--one of the divine purposes of art.

The opening song,"Tumbleweed," is a minimalist description of what seems to be a musician's road trip, reminiscent of the days of the telegraph where cost was determined by the numbers of characters. McDonnell sings:
"Road sky stone/All alone/Guitar
Far from home/Drive all day/Clear highway
White sand/Arm tanned/I'm okay..."
"Hey Joe" retells the story of the prodigal son who finds trouble everywhere he goes because he's the problem.

"5:05" is a desperate plea in facing loss. The variations of and elements of fire are employed metaphorically in describing a couple's relationship in the aptly titled "Fire."

The sensual "Lemon Marmalade" has McDonnell singing:
"...A woman who has kissed someone
A woman who's been kissed
Walks through the world more beautiful
Than sunshine through a mist
Every step and every look
A sweet warm undertow..."
The second best cut here, "Luis," is a mournful and moving tale of lost love amidst a plea for a casket to be built. This one will get to you.

"Mayday" uses metaphor in describing a young man and woman's first coupling. Steve Earle's bittersweet "Goodbye Song" dovetails well with "Mayday," as does the last offering "Softhearted Girl," a lament about a failed pairing due to the male's Peter Pan Syndrome.

An outstanding factor that makes McDonnell's work appealing is her marvelous voice--penetrating, vulnerable and emotive. A listener gets the sense McDonnell is re-living the circumstances she is singing of.

McDonnell's music makes one think and feel. Thinking and interpreting, followed by feeling and reacting to the subject matter presented. Shy away if such responses are not your cups of tea but settle right in and begin if such works for you.

Kate McDonnell on vocals and guitar, is backed by Marc Shulman on electric guitar; Sam Zucchini on drums and bodhran; Beth Reineke on background vocals; Mindy Jostyn on accordion, violin, harmonica and background vocals; and Scott Petito on electric, fretless and upright basses, electric guitar; ebow, octave mandolin, organ, keyboards, high-string guitar, electric sitar, percussion, cymbals and background vocals.

Track List:

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