A Review of the Tracy Grammer CD
"The Verdant Mile"

"The Verdant Mile"
by Tracy Grammer

Copyright 2004

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 10/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Consider this a transition release. Tracy Grammer has issued an EP to carry over fans from the point of her partner Dave Carter's passing to a new, full-length CD to be available early next year. Grammer, ensconced in a personal and professional state-of-evolution, has appropriately selected songs that revolve around the unmapped, zig-zag pathways of life.

The title cut, "The Verdant Mile," with references to the Carter songs "Gentle Arms of Eden," "The Mountain" and "I Go Like The Raven," portrays Grammer's trek in coping and coming to terms with Carter's surprise death. Infused with catchy, changing rhythms, take this cut as a marvelous sign of things to come as Grammer moves along the path of penning and performing more of her own compositions.

Depicting a place of stifling existence, "Dirty Little Town" possesses one patient soul of vision yearning to escape the stunted confines and immobilizing shackles of an existence that passes for acceptable living.

Made famous by The Byrds, the infectious, "I Wasn't Born To Follow," penned by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, seems straight out of the Dave Carter songbook. Given a 'bluegrassy' feel by Grammer and new performer partner Jim Henry, here's the opening Carter-esque verse of this song of seeking:

"Oh I'd rather go and journey
where the diamond crest is flowing
and run across the valley
beneath the sacred mountain
and wander through the forest
where the trees have leaves of prisms
and break the light in colors
that no one knows the names of ..."

Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" could be exhibit A of a schmaltz-fest in the wrong hands. Not so here. Grammer produces a more plaintive version and splits the song with a pleasing instrumental break.

The tender "When I Reach The Place I'm Goin'," continues the on-a-journey motif and startingly includes what seemingly could be a reference to Dave Carter's departure:
"...I will fly beyond this valley
I will open up the gate
and when I reach the place I'm goin'
I will surely know my way"

"We have hands to hold our sorrow
we have tears to heal the pain
although your eyes ask many questions
on your lips, I hear my name..."
The lively fiddle instrumentals "Jackson's Tune/Trickster Tale/St. Anne's Reel" bring to mind numerous scenes: an Irish ceili, a frontporch full of musicians in Appalachia or even a square dance.

Closing out the release is the cowboy lament "Old Paint," displaying a cow hand's greater connection to the land and animals than his kin.

Be forewarned: listen mindfully, for while this is a very enjoyable 'hors d'oeuvre,' the 'entree' isn't being served until some time in 2005.

Tracy Grammer performs vocals, guitar, mandola and violin and Jim Henry assists with vocals, mandolin, dobro and mandola.

Track List:

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