A Review of the CD
"Life and Art"
by Tracy Spring
"Life and Art"
Copyright 1995 AziZ 004
by Tracy Spring
P.O. Box 4225
Bellingham, WA 98227
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Combine her especially emotive voice with her more introspective songs
and Tracy Spring's unfortunately overlooked 1995 release erupts in flames
covering the spectrum of human passion. Spring possesses the kind of radiant
voice that sends shivers down the spine, especially so in conjunction with
her incisive material. Her most delicate, nuanced compositions dissect
the threads of human connections, philosophically spotlighting the search
for answers in this thing we call life.
Possessing a seductive rhythm, "Into Someone's Eyes" is the sweet and
hopeful opening cut. Tentative and concerned about slipping into love as
if under a spell, Spring sings:
"...Just hold me now, I think I'm fallin'
This song vividly captures the emotional complexities of exposing and offering
the human heart, especially when attempting to determine if this extension
is one promulgated by strength or weakness.
into someone's eyes
Is this the window of your soul
Or is it just a mirror
Oh, yours are deep and shine like gold
Tellin' me not to fear
Some words are silver on the tongue
But only pretty lies...
A moth may know the reason why
it's drawn into the flame
Or why the salmon fights the flow
Returning where it came
Well those who take a leap of faith
May think they can fly
Just hold me now, I think I'm fallin'
Into someone's eyes..."
"Meaning Of Goodbye" delves into the capriciousness of life--the unexpected
loss of a loved one and the feelings that follow. Spring sings:
"Never had time to learn the meaning of goodbye
The advice proffered in moving through the stages of grief and sadness
and establishing a new identity, is this:
Never had reason to believe she'd have to try
Always had love enough to share, thought he would always be there
But David doesn't live here anymore
There is a child with his dark hair and her lost smile
Sometimes she comes to stay with us for a little while
She might ask me what I know of the man who loved her so
"Cause David doesn't live here anymore..."
"... It can take so long to raise the veil of sadness
The hymn-like "Work And Hope" is a subdued, genuine plea for continuing
on, act-by-act, day-by-day, with those humanitarian deeds that better life
for us all, especially for those around us who are less fortunate. What
could easily become maudlin and banal remains dignified and powerful in
Spring's hands, as her lyrics and delivery elevate this subject matter:
Do you think you will have less when you drain your pool of tears
If you can hold on to the gifts he gave us
You can find where he left off and you begin..."
"A hungry child, a bowl of food
The opportunities for resurrection, the chance and choice to begin again
is the palette painted in the extremely touching "Empty Arms." The song
opens with blessed hope but then careens into a new parent's worst nightmare.
An eye for eye, a day of truce
It's those who want or have
And still want more
Until everyone has enough to eat
Until all can find a safe place to sleep
There is something you and I must do
It's work...and hope
A sacrifice, a vision shared
A leap of faith for those who dare
The rose of Love will bloom
The dove will fly
If our every act can ease some pain
Then the hero has a thousand names
One act, one play, one step each day
Of work...and hope
And though we may limit the lives we touch
"Cause it hurts sometimes to feel too much
Find the strength to do what you can do
With work...and hope."
"A fertile moon, a rainy night
This excruciating loss of a newborn results in the husband and wife grieving
in very separate and isolating ways--he becomes evasive, she acts very
down-to-earth and each is unable to support the other:
When they made love by candlelight
A seed was sown, a life was grown
And they made room in their lives
A woman's body opened wide
Letting out the life inside
A precious breath, too still to try
Small wings had taken flight..."
"...He digs a hole, he plants a tree
The pair ultimately conjoins, still in anguish but not wanting to continue
down their divergent paths:
He tries to think he's set it free
And doesn't feel his woman's need
Spends his time upon the road
She paints a picture, writes a poem
She finds the grief he seeks alone
And yearns to build a happy home
Fill their empty arms again..."
"...Their hearts are battered, stiff and sore
"Woman On The Road" portrays the ambivalence inherent in the struggle to
maintain equilibrium between the workings of life and artistic, creative
callings. Spring sings:
Right now they want to fight no more
There's ashes where their dreams have been
They will rise again"
"...We work our jobs, we spend our pay
Displaying a degree of versatility, Spring also includes three bluesy cuts--"Love'll
Do," "John Is Gone," and "Oh Sweet Darlin'," featuring slide guitar play
that promotes and elevates the blues sound and feel.
And ache to fill our hearts
We hope and pray to find a way
To juggle life and art
May each endeavor speak the truth
Of every human soul
Well, you choose yours, and I choose mine
And gladly pay the toll..."
For those who enjoy being emotionally moved, Tracy Spring will fill
the bill, offering subtle insights and an affective voice that truly embellishes
her beneficent and thoughtful material.
Spring on vocals, rhythm, slide and electrical guitar, harmonica and
mountain dulcimer, is backed by Kim Scanlon on vocals; Janis Carper on
vocals and guitar; Linda Waterfall on vocals; Kelly Harland on vocals;
Heidi Muller on vocals; Nina Gerber on lead guitar; Cary Black on acoustic,
fretless and electric bass; Joel Litwin on percussion, drums and chimes;
Orville Johnson on vocals and slide guitar; John Miller on guitar; John
Morton on guitar; James Goforth on alto sax; David Lange on piano; and
Janet Peterson on cello.
All songs written by Tracy Spring, except "Meaning of Goodbye," written
by Tracy Spring and Karen Reitz.
- Into Someone's Eyes (4:32)
- Love'll Do (3:15)
- Meaning Of Goodbye (4:32)
- Work And Hope (3:36)
- Empty Arms (4:11)
- Can't Get Enough (4:31)
- Love Is A Round (3:28)
- Morning Song (4:36)
- John Is Gone (3:28)
- Woman On The Road (3:32)
- Bathing Suit Top (3:03)
- Oh Sweet Darlin' (3:40)
- Gabriel's Lullaby (2:51
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