A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Michele Scherneck
Erin Corday's Secret About the World is one of those rare albums that is excellent in its entirety. Like a Japanese painter, Erin expresses depth and beauty with simplicity. This is not to say that hers is a simple message. Secret about the World is about the failure to see the obvious. It is about searching in distant places for what can be found before us. It is an exploration of the human spirit, of loss and discovery, of strength and vulnerability, of despair, and of hope and renewal. Erin reminds us that heavenly sights can be glimpsed in earthly places. Her insightful lyrics are married with a contemporary acoustic sound, accented with Brazilian rhythms. Her melodic vocals and select intonations create the perfect bridge between lyrics and music.
The secret about the world is revealed in songs such as "Secret," "Only," "On the Seven," and "Only the New World." In "Secret," Erin speaks of the vulnerability we feel when we open our lives to others. Life is comprised of a series of arrivals and departures, like ships in a harbor. Some lack the brave heart of the explorer, freeze in fear of a lost investment, and "we learn to keep the secret/the secret about the world/eclipsed deep inside/we pretend not to see it." In "Only," Erin's acoustic guitar is accompanied by flute-like whistles that conjure images of angels in flight. Contrary to the heavenly visions implied in the music, she reveals that "of all the angels I've known/no one had a soft white wing/no one had a halo." Angels are often merely flesh and blood, short of perfection, yet capable of miracles. "On the Seven" describes a magical bus ride. Seated near "two well-meaning, bible-toting brothers," Erin asks, "Where'd you find Jesus, boys?/Did he shine from the dark eternally young?/wearing sandals/or was he a shoeless man/shuffling down some back street..." Sometimes the most profound and spiritually enlightening events occur in everyday life. "Only New World" describes the adventures of Margaret and her non-cowboy companion in their Subaru. This is, again, a reminder that we need not travel to other lands, to other cultures, to other people for adventure. What we are searching for is here in our own culture, in our family and friends, and in ourselves.
Erin is featured on acoustic guitar, keyboards, and vocals. Joel Litwin accompanies her on drums and percussion. Additional credits are given to Brian Buller and Tracy Spring for backing vocals, and to Paul Benoit for guitar solo on "Painter's Eye". Cary Black and Scot VanderVelde play bass on "Camel Walk" and "Painter's Eye", respectively. Secret about the World was produced by Erin Corday, and co-produced by Joel Litwin. Erin also carefully designed the album insert graphics to serve as a guide for unveiling the secrets of the album. Other recordings by Erin Corday include Butterfly Tattoo (1993) and Concert for the Cat (1994). These, and Secret About the World are available from Waterbug Records, P.O. Box 6605 Evanston, IL 60204, (800) 466-0234.