Wild Iris Music
Review for the Folk and Music Exchange
by Paula Gregorowicz
Have you ever tried to talk about love? Do you ever seek words to describe being in love and the ways its many facets intertwine? Then you'll appreciate what Peggy Morgan and Bette Phelan have accomplished in their latest recording, "Celebrations of Love." They weave beautiful lyrics and flowing melodies into a tapestry whose subject is love, in all its forms.
"We think of these songs as paintings of emotions," say the liner notes, "or even as snapshots of the feelings we share as we get to know one another." Nylon and steel string guitars provide the backdrops, while cello arrangements by Kay Aldrich and piano arrangements by Steven Burkle enhance the palette.
The album opens with a showcase for the pair's harmonies and instrumental interplay. "You Are the One I Love/Floating on Air" celebrates the finding of a soul mate: "You are the one I love. You are my breath, you are my blood. I love you. All you are, all you do." The dance of two hearts segues into an instrumental dance, reminiscent of a gigue.
"If I Could Call" says more about the connection between two true lovers by touching the reality of being apart, of love across the miles. The song asks "Can you hear me call to you across a starlit sky?/ I tell myself you hear me and it helps the night go by."
Love over the long haul is the theme on "Anniversary Song," a musical version of what life vows really should be. The singers recognize that the love they have chosen is not an easy path. In spite of it all, they sing, "I would love to have you here for the rest of my life."
The exploration would not be complete without stories of saying goodbye, of recognizing when old dreams have worn past their time. So the melancholy flavors of "Mendocino Dawn" and "Nothing to Do But Say Goodbye" balance out upbeat tunes such as "Darlin'", "Some Kind of Magic" and "If We Can Feel Our Love."
Finally, Morgan & Phelan remind us the love between people is only one kind of love. "Come On Home," speaks to the universal love relationship everyone has with their own self. And the recording ends by suggesting that all love is grounded in spiritual love. "Great Spirit (Guide Me)" asks a presence greater than myself to remove my fear, open my heart and allow me to reach out.
If you're in a love relationship with another person, with yourself, or simply with life, this recording captures it all and celebrates it through the sacred art of music. Welcome this portrait into your collection of audible art. You might find out it's a portrait of you.
To purchase Celebrations of Love, you can contact:
Wild Iris Music
P.O. Box 611
Veneta, OR 97487
Edited by Steve Brooks