Fields of Elysian

Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
written by Bruce Blair

First, let me say that this is a singers' album. These two have clear, clean voices that blend so well, they seem to melt together to become a single, larger voice. Paul Kamm writes a variety of song types and styles, and each song stands alone. Kamm is a poet, as well as a song writer. His song lyrics are delightful to read without the music.

The first song is "Money Town," a tale of searching for "the latest dream." On "By the Light of the Moon," Kamm sings a solid lead vocal, with MacDonald's voice in close harmony, creating a soft, lullaby-like feeling. "All This Time" was written for MacDonald's mother, wondering where she might be and what she might be like. The song is dedicated to those adoptees "who long for the circle to be complete." "Morocco" is one of those wonderfully romantic songs, about faraway places and exotic scenes. It's a fine example of the haunting, dreamy quality that Kamm and MacDonald can put into a song.

"Toxic Dumpsite" is a delightful, tongue-in-cheek commentary on the ecology of the American lifestyle, where your homemade tasting cookies are capable of lasting 10 years. This place we're living in and putting all those twinkies, it's too important! "If I could Fly" is a bittersweet song dedicated to political prisoners, and the prisoners of domestic violence and abuse. "Where Do We Go From Here" discusses that sad feeling of reaching the "great lover's divide," another example of the fine lyric poetry of Paul Kamm.

After a complex solo by classical guitarist George Souza, the pair deliver one of the finest songs on the album, a hauntingly beautiful, other-worldy song. "Dark Horse" is reminiscent of the acappella ballad singing of Celtic tradition. Kamm provides such a close harmony they seem to blend into one voice.

Kamm, Souza, Nina Gerber, and Mikail Graham play guitar, while Graham also plays bass and accordion. Rich Stanmeyer plays bass, and Steve Fowler plays flute. There is no overproduction on this album. You will be impressed by an instrumental accompaniment that is tight and clean, with the instruments sometimes taking the role of additional voices.

"Fields of Elysian" can be ordered directly from
Freewheel Records, P.O. Box 181, Nevada City, California 95959.

This review is copyrighted by Great Desert Northwest Music, 1995.
It may be reproduced with prior permission and attribution.

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