A Review of the CD
"The Beauty of the Earth"
by Lydia McCauley

"The Beauty of the Earth"
by Lydia McCauley

Copyright 2002 BM-1028
Brimstone Music
P.O. Box 4193
Bellingham, WA 98227

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Being as religious as a church mouse, my qualifications to review this CD may be suspect. However, Lydia McCauley's latest release, rather than ecclesiastical, is more an endeavor of the heart. And since we all have such an organ, whether we fully use it or not, onward atheist soldier, I go.

She sings of personal and spiritual fulfillment through a higher consciousness. This enlightenment is not necessarily achieved through the usual conduits of memorization, recital, penance, financial contributions and such, but rather through a contemplative life that nourishes greater awareness of self, the world and beyond.

She sings of the Chinese cosmology yin and yang in "The River of Life":

"...The sweetness and joy and the sadness and pain are the gold elixir as onward I go
The sweetness and joy and the sadness and pain, the river of Life I float upon."
With "In The Silence," she continues:
"...With every breath we are taking we are being changed;
with every breath we change the world.
We can live, we can breathe, we can know the world around us as far as we can see.
The world can change and time can fly, but eternity is in-between in the silence..."
An awareness of the role nature's elements play in spiritual growth is reflected in "When You See," with McCauley singing of a pilgrim's journey:
"...Look around, the whole of earth surrounding you
and the stars in heaven drawing close to show the way.
When you hear the whisper of the forest,
or the hush of breath along the shore,
and the rocks and winds are calling out to welcome you,
and the mountain's song sings you home again once more..."
The title cut, "The Beauty of the Earth," continues in the vein of the pastoral while also mining the territory of an English traditional tune (without the heartbreak and bloodshed):
"How the sun is spraying gold on the pears to ripening.
And you the finest lad I have ever seen.
Meadow valley green, summer bears the marks of spring's birth..."
My first exposure to "Kyrie Eleison" was with the "Easy Rider" soundtrack. McCauley finishes the selections with a subdued version of this offering.

Her vocals are as enchanting as usual, and one can easily imagine how the various churches and cathedrals she often plays in further enhance her music's ambience.

Much of McCauley's material could seemingly twine with the Unitarian or Unitarian Universalist religious orders. Her music will evoke strong reactions: some may dismiss it as New Age hooey while others may find it gives them pause to reflect on what is truly important in their lives. Let's simply call McCauley's music old AND new age wisdom.

McCauley, on vocals, piano, keyboards and synthesizer, is backed by Frank Jackson on recorders, penny whistle and wooden flute; Brian Cunningham on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and synthesizer; Lynne Givler on double bass and background vocals; and Jason Darling on percussion.

Track List:

All songs written by Lydia MaCauley unless otherwise noted.

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