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:
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:
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:
"But I try to live sincerely
And I try to carry on
Moving through these empty feelings
I head into another town and then I'm gone..."
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.
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