A Review of the Virginia Wagner CD
"Darkness Visible"

"Darkness Visible"
by Virginia Wagner

Anvil Records VW2007
Copyright 2007

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/07
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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If it's necessary to have experienced the subject matter of one's compositions--however dubious such a proposition is--then Virgina Wagner has waded waist deep into Big Love and pushed on.

With her latest release, "Darkness Visible," she attends to the minefield of relationships gained and then mostly lost. She sings of achingly easy attraction followed by tangled departure, keynoting the intricacies of the human tango.

Here are a few prime examples of Wagner's work:

In the opening cut, she depicts the evolution within a pairing, highlighting that one partner has morphed into someone indecipherable. But in the last chorus, with clarity drawn from distance and time, she sings of a resolute about-face:
"...I am so different
You are still the same"

"Living in Eden" provocatively opens with this dramatic disclosure:
"He wants me to paint the world
in colors he can understand..."
But the last verse provides no clearcut avowal:
"...And it's painful at the crossroads,
Which direction should we chose?
On the high road, on the low road,
Is it either way we lose?"
A woman ponders the ramifications of leaving her husband in the compelling "Stand Back," vacillating over the prudent move to make.

The chorus stands out in "The Price That Love Would Pay " as Wagner sings:
"...Now we're waiting for the night's benediction
And the howling winds to stop
We share the same addiction
Just in matters of the heart..."
"Time Can Stand Still" reverses the musical trend by providing an element of the upbeat.
"...I hear it in the distance
Low roll of thunder across the plains
The hammered heartbeat of the sky
It's telling me to love again
This time love will not end..."

Not that listeners wish to relive their own intimate episodes of bonds figuratively dead and buried but who can't identify with this material motherlode? Chances are we all have at least nominally endured bittersweet liaisons analogous to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune but it's someone else's pain here and we can choose to ride shotgun or remain bystanders. The crucial components--what makes this musical tableau memorable--is the brew of Wagner's songwriting, guitar picking and singing.

Track List:

All songs written by Virginia Wagner.

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