Susan Herrick

(Gadfly 234)

Gadfly Records
P.O. Box 5231
Burlington, VT 05402

A review written for the Folk and Music Exchange
by Paula Gregorowicz

Deeply moving and totally captivating. That is how I describe my first exposure to Susan Herrick and Paint. Her third album and first nationally distributed release, Paint" showcases songs from a strong woman's voice, both literally and figuratively. The selections on Paint encompass an incredible range of styles -- from songs that make the listener feel like they're in a drumming circle to deep, passionate piano and vocal selections to songs with strong pop-sensibility. The arrangements and production by Herrick and recording engineer, Marc Moss, are exquisite. The icing on the cake is the stunning photography and artwork on the CD, which really captures its essence.

Called By the Rebels, an inspiring song with catchy melody and very powerful vocals grabs the listener from the start. After being swept away from the first track, Standing grounds the listener with the affirmation of a person finding her own space and feeling the connection with the earth and life's calling.

The first of several percussive songs that draw on Native-American sounds, Back From Where We Came speaks like the deep-throated Earth mother. In the liner notes, Herrick expresses, "My deepest gratitude for the artistic genius of the Native Americans, their understanding of the sacred, and their reverence for the natural world." Herrick's collection of songs on this CD is a finely crafted token of gratitude. Circle Run features Herrick on frame drum, as the sole accompaniment to her passionate and challenging lyrics. Alas del Sol (Wings of the Sun) has an infectious percussive beat with a refreshing and freeing mood to it. Red Tail conjures beautiful images of nature and the power of creatures in the wild.

Karmic Tie and You Never Know are two very powerful pieces featuring Herrick's smooth vocals. I found myself with chills up my spine by the power in both of these songs. Karmic Tie, which has a passionate piano accompaniment, tackles the deep connection that can exist between one's self and another person, transcending space and time. You Never Know is hard to describe because it takes its power from things in our life that are uncertain and unseen:

I see you thinking
Something is dying
Well that could be so
That your heart's been grounded
And you were made for flying
Well, you never know.

We Are is a beautiful piece whose repetition and lyrical rhythm give it a meditative feel. Caryn Lin adds stunning electric violin to the arrangement. Herrick displays a jazzy feel in Fire Loves the Wood and her instrumental compositional talents in Deer Myth.

The only weakness on the entire CD is the song French Toast. It reminds me of a jingle that seems out of place amidst all the gems on Paint.

Very rarely do I find a CD that is not only a pleasure to listen to musically and artistically, but also stirs my soul so much that I find myself drawn to it again and again. Paint is one of these rare gems. If your soul is starved for a strong voice and a deep connection to the Earth and the sacred, serve it a copy of Paint.

Edited by David Schultz

Copyright 1998, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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