Stone By Stone
Molly Gamblin Music
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Lui Collins' latest adult release is a collection of twelve powerful, thought-provoking, cohesive, and yes, pretty songs, speaking of seeking common ground, both with nature and within personal relationships.
She sings of coming to terms with both oneself and others who do not look, talk, act or speak like we do, and how boundaries can be transcended by focusing on human similarities, regardless of skin color and language.
Collins opens with Maisha Ni Safi, an upbeat song with a lyrical combination of Swahili and English. It fits the scope of this release well, however, it is the weakest offering on the recording. Collins then utilizes Friendship Waltz to delve into the pleasures of both the mystery and harmony in personal relationships. Gold Upon The Trees follows, an homage to the beauty of the turning of the seasons and the reasons we choose to live where we do.
Collins also tackles the too often deadly, but entirely preventable, consequences of racial divisions and the shame surrounding the abuse of indigenous peoples by "higher civilizations" with Fred Small's Guinevere And The Fire, and her own Stone By Stone.
Midnight begins as a lament to a failing relationship and how love has withered away, but ends with the prayer, hope and desire that the love still remaining will be enough to "get past the differences" and "heal old resentments." She closes the release with Lovers' Fire, a sweet ode to her lover and their thirteen (when it was written, now eighteen) years together. In describing the relationship as "seems like our love is like an oak tree, deeply rooted reaching for the sky . . . weathering the passings of the seasons, taller, sweeter, stronger every day," Collins utilizes a human/nature relationship simile invoking the philosophy found throughout this recording.
In STONE BY STONE she is telling us to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate both the similarities and the differences between peoples and, at the same time, approach and learn from nature with this same sort of reverence.
Collins' music is intimate and accessible, the production spare but appropriate.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org)