A Review of the CD
"Minor League Deities"
by Rachael Davis

"Minor League Deities"
by Rachael Davis

Copyright 2001
Aunt Farm Productions
421 E. Crippen Street
Cadillac, MI 49601

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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So, what's with the title of this release? Does it somehow refer to the lower leagues of baseball as Davis is wearing a shirt on the back cover of the jewel case that appears to advertise an Alligators team of some sort? Or is it some sly reference to the big media--forsaken "stars" of folk music? Or could it simply be a term for those we're drawn to in day-to-day life?

Davis' songs are primarily attuned to human connections and personal relationships--so the guess is the latter.

She uses her wide-ranging vocals almost as another instrument. "Dancin' Shoes," the fifth cut, is a prime example. She creates emotional context with a simple but expressive slide up and down the scales. The fourth song, "Under Winter," displays the same effective vocal treatment.

The third offering, "Feste's Theme (Heavenbound)" contains fine examples of Davis' writing style. She opens with:

"... I met a man in the city on his way down
He had the tears of his mother and the smile of a clown
He said, Singing's my soul, laughter's my game
And love is a stranger that never needed my name

And we all need a fool who'll never tell lies
Who'll put on those masks, but never wear them disguised
Oh, so write me your rules that don't matter at all
I was willing to jump, I wasn't ready to fall..."

"Better Than Me," the second song, is just Davis' vocals and banjo. The lyrics describe the heartache so often presented in bluegrass/old-timey tunes although her delivery isn't quite planted in either genre.

We're betting Davis could produce one hellacious bluegrass or even a Celtic-U.K. traditional release. Her vocals and arrangements could shake off the rust and dust of many a forsaken gem.

The opener, "Cocktail Wieners," is a jazzy bass and trumpet offering, blended with Davis' sassy vocals.

Maybe the enjoyment of the first half of the release overpowered the remaining cuts, for the latter five songs didn't measure up to the opening quintet. Some of the writing certainly remains strong, such as with "Still An Angel," but something seems a bit off kilter and just not as effective in the latter five.

It's like dining. The hors d'oeuvres and entre proved quite satisfying but dessert didn't measure up to the previous servings.

So, is the glass half-empty or half-full? The release worked enough for me to want to review it but each listener will need to judge for himself/herself.

Track List:

All songs written by Rachael Davis, excepted as noted.

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