A Review of the CD
"Sounding Land"
by Susan Graham White

"Sounding Land"
by Susan Graham White

Copyright 1998
Big Bay Records
P.O. Box 176
Port Republic, MD 20676
ph: (888)541-6373

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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From the celtic-tinged opening "Brigid's Shield" to the closing symphonic "The Rhythm of Air," Susan Graham White weaves between an easy, Sunday morning-like comfortableness in some pieces to more challenging offerings that break this reverie and command attention. Sometimes straightforward, sometimes more mystical in her observations and remembrances of nature's seasonal cycles, she also delivers paeans to both her horses and the land. A testimonial to a departed close friend and a couple of looks at relationships also round out the eclectic mix.

"Brigid's Shield," a Celtic symbol representing the ancient protectress of horses, poets and dreamers, according to the liner notes, is a rousing, mystical cut that opens with strong piano work and is also backed by bodran and fiddle. Veering towards Loreena McKennitt in delivery and content, White sings:

Quieting the tone down with "The Farm," White invitingly details what to expect when visiting her Shangri-la: Her soothing choruses reveal her connection to this land with "Soon it will become clear, it's so peaceful here" and "I would not trade a fortune for the farm."

On "Seasons," White sharing of lead vocals and harmonies with Caroline Horn is a standout element due to the contrasts in their voices and the combininations that results. This cut has a comforting rhythm, immensely aided by Horn on piano.

Delving into the minefield of relationships, White seems both assured and celebratory in "Sweet Companion" as she sings:

She closes with: White's vocals are backed here solely by Horn's moving piano work.

In "If I Had My Way," the protagonist appears torn between the lifestyle brought on by her her career and simply chucking it all and returning to her sanctuary home. At time seemingly assured, at times fighting off impinging existentialism, White sings:

Her chorus resumes the quandry: "Just Like You" is a loving tribute to White's friend, the late Bob Eggers. White extols his wonderful attributes as a giving, caring person always willing to help others. Epitaph-like in its presentation and chorus, this cut contains some sweet fiddle touches that add to its poignancy.

Consisting of just two verses, "The Rhythm of Air" is a lush offering to the sport of dressage, a sport involving a horse's precise movements in response to a rider's almost imperceptible signals. White and co-writer, Rico Petruccelli utilize an ensemble of piano, bass, percussion, classical guitar, cello, and two violins to ensconce this composition in a velvety texture that creates, along with the lyrics, a most vivid moving picture of animal and human.

White has a strong, at times husky voice that harmonizes well with her music. Her clarity of delivery makes it easy to recognize her lyrics. Also, anyone who enjoys a mix of piano in the folk music genre will be at home with this release. Here is yet another talent who continues to produce quality material while remaining in transit on the boulevard of obscurity. Seek out her material and be prepared for a treat.

Track List::

All songs written by Susan Graham White except "The Rhythm of Air" written by Susan Graham White and Rico Petruccelli.

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