This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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After producing CDs in 1994, 1996 and 1998, Terri Allard took a hiatus until 2002. Whatever the reason, what matters most is she is back. Back with a splendid new release full of solid songs and at least a couple of standout cuts.
Almost every one of her offerings revolve around some form of personal relationship. Usually mismatched or misguided pairings provide the greatest songwriting material and this element is certainly represented here. However, the two best songs provide powerful and loving reflections on relationships with someone whose life is ebbing or who has already died.
"Anna Carolyn" possesses a flowing rhythm that immediately engages the listener. An unplanned pregnancy results in a hasty marriage as Allard sings:
...In a Chevrolet Impala, we drove down to North CarolinaAt the conclusion, the husband candidly offers:
I wore a suit of gray. Your dress was blue
On a back seat forty years ago
We woke up on Preacher's Row
For your 19th birthday, we both said, 'I do'..."
"...Anna Carolyn I've loved you fromA eulogy, an anthem, or both, "Bright Day" is a splendid, uplifting testimonial to the longetivity of the spirit. Allard opens with:
the first time that I saw you
Staring back at me across the room
Now I look into those big brown eyes
Knowing there's no need to say good-bye
The best of me will always be with you..."
"On this bright day we gather to be strongHarmonizing with Tim Anderson, they sing:
On this bright day we fill the hills with song
On this bright day with oceans in our eyes
We celebrate you, we celebrate love, we celebrate life..."
"...And we know while that old March wind blowsThe soft accordion of Jeff Saine provokes just the right background.
You're somewhere reaching out
Holding our hands, keeping our dreams
Mending our hearts..."
In the liner notes, this song is dedicated to Dave, no last name provided. But as local DJ Clytia Fuller has indicated, the message of this song could apply, even if it isn't the person intended, to the passing and legacy of Dave Carter.
"Price You Pay" lays down the law to those whose creed is the grass is always greener elsewhere. Allard sings:
"Who is the fool who told you that you don't have to worry?Other songs of note are: "Brand New," a plaintive, pleading call invoking the metaphor of second-hand goods in need of repair with that of abuse victims; "Makes No Sense" depicts a lover still-smitten over an unworkable coupling; "You'll Learn" is about the irresistable draw to the sparks and fire in relationships, good and bad.
From the look in your eye, well, I'd start now and, baby, I'd hurry
You ride through life like a man half possessed
You gotta try everything twice
What makes you feel that you are so blessed?..."
Even if you're of the camp that every possible angle of personal relationships has already been turned inside out, this release will still work for you because of its presentation. Allard's enjoyable vocals, the instrumental backing of the songs, the emotion provoked--one or more of these will affect even the most vigilant.
Allard, on vocals and guitar, is supported by Gary Green on harmonica; Sonny Layne on acoustic and electric bass and background vocals; Jim Taggart on mandolin, violin and background vocals; Jeff Saine on accordion and lap steel; Eddie Hall on drums; Spencer Lathrop on drums; Tim Anderson on vocals; Dwayne Evans, Donna Hamilton, Bobby Read and Sara Read on background vocals, plus Mary Chapin Carpenter on background vocals on "Anna Carolyn.".
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