A Review of the Paula Joy Welter CD
"Still Hidden Places"

"Still Hidden Places"
by Paula Joy Welter

Copyright 2005
produced by Greg Orton and Paula Joy Welter
Starry Sky Music (BMI)

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/06
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Sometimes life gets in the way. Other times, it is finances. For a few, it's writer's block.

Regardless of the reason, do welcome Paula Joy Welter back. Her initial CD, with that heart-melting, tear-inducing cut "Joanna's Gift," came out way back in 1995. Now she has issued her second release, offering another distillation of life's ups-and-downs, filtered through a prism of wisdom.

The initial cut, "A Distant Shore," never directly mentions it, but sure seems to be about Amelia Earhart, the female pilot who broke oh so many barriers but the final one, gravity. "Deep Within Wisconsin Green," detailing the moving away from family and home of Welter's sister, contains this evocative line: "...We waved goodbye an ending just begun..." Dan Barker on cello adds to the appeal of this offering.

A tribute to her parents 50th wedding anniversary, Welter's "Where Two Rivers Meet" twines asymmetry and concurrence. The chorus:

"...One knows what the other can't say
In the dissonant places, love is revealed, each day
He stands like an oak tree, she bends like a wild rose
Where two rivers meet, harmonies flow..."

Written while participating in a Bob Franke songwriting workshop, the laudatory "Broken Wings Mend," a re-envision of heaven, was influenced by 12 years of Catholic school attendance. Abetted by Norton Buffalo on harmonica, Welter depicts a Vietnam vet and his neighbor serendipitously finding salvation through each other in "Rivers Run Deep." "Uncharted Skies" is a companion piece with the harmonic convergence of two physically damaged souls.

With nary an Xbox or text-messaging cell phone in sight, "On Steeds That Could Fly" rejoices Welter's childhood play. "The Truth In The Gravy" humorously contains a long overlooked Biblical revelation.

This is another contemplative offering, mixed of wistfulness, acceptance and even joy. Welter's chosen material and her presentation leads one to believe she has traveled life's high and low roads, not simply surviving, but experiencing elemental beauty and knowledge throughout the entire journey.

Welter, on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, is backed by Norton Buffalo on harmonica and bass harmonica; "Sneaky Pete" Kleinow on pedal steel; Ritt Henn on acoustic bass; Greg Orton on fretless bass; Dan Barker on cello; Gabe Witcher on fiddle; Michael Witcher on dobro; Shawn Skylark on piano; Fred Faiella on accordion and Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen on harmony vocals.

Track List:

All songs by Paula Joy Welter, except as noted.

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