Waiting for the Spark

Gayla Drake Paul

Ivanhoe Road Music
PO Box 301
Ely, IA 52227

A review for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Bruce Graybill

As I sit and listen to this new release by Gayla Drake Paul, I am reminded of how full an acoustic guitar can sound in the hands of the right person. I find myself carried away by the rich tones of the non-standard tuning (DADGAD) she uses throughout this recording.

The expression is unmistakable, from the wide dynamic range of her playing and voice, to the variety of musical flavors evident in her style. This is a woman who has obviously been down a significant musical road in her life. In the third or fourth listening I find my favorite songs are replaced by others depending on my mood. To me, that is a sign of a great recording. Each time I listen through the CD I hear something new, and the sensation of discovery is exciting.

Gayla includes the performance of other players on a few cuts. I especially enjoyed the work of Craig Erickson, who's slide guitar compliments Drake's rhythmic structure with great taste. Given the subtle husky growl in her voice, and the strength of her fingerstlye arrangements, this CD would have stood out stylistically even without the spice of other musicians.

There are twelve cuts on this CD, ranging in style from heavy hearted blues with an acoustic rock feel, to Irish instrumentals, to sounds reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's phrasing. My current favorites, "Dharma Dance", "Let Me Make You Mine", and the title track, "Waiting for the Spark", leave me wanting to hear more of this artist's work. I will go out and buy her first release, as the second has made such a strong impression. I would encourage you to get them both.

Gayla Drake Paul is managed by:
Artist Management, Inc.
PO Box 346
Mount Horeb, WI 53572
(608) 437-3440.

[Bruce Graybill is the 1995 Dogwood Music Festival Flatpicking Guitar Champion, a Two Time Kansas State Mandolin Champion (1990 / 1995), and 1995 3rd Place 'Walnut Valley Mandolin Champion' (National Flatpicking Championships).]

[Editor: Mike Buckley (snoopy1@pig.net)]

Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reproduced with prior permission and attribution.

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