Various ArtistsSIG 247
Signature Sounds Recording Co.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
It started with ten female artists from the Boston area eating pancakes and trying to figure out which organization was about to profit from their idea of doing a benefit CD. Soon they decided it was to be Respond, Inc., a non-profit organization offering free services for battered women and their children for the past twenty-five years.
Sometimes the problem with benefit CDs can be, that although you would like to support the cause, you decide not to buy the recording in the end. It may be because the compilation is full of material which you already know by heart, and you don't necessarily want to add it to your collection once again. Or because you heard that the "amazing" amount of five cents of each CD sold will directly benefit the organization.
This double CD, with its all-female cast, certainly meets all of the requirements for a recording benefitting a cause devoted to women and their children. Not only will all of the proceeds go directly to Respond, but all of the parties involved, from the recording studio to the graphic designers, donated their services. And most of the 27 songs and artists represented here are not likely to be part of your household yet, although there are some more familiar names like Catie Curtis, Jennifer Kimball (formerly of The Story) and Patty Larkin. I was trying to make a short list of my favourite songs and found that I came out with at least twelve songs that left me with my mouth agape. And to be honest, there were even a few more that I felt tempted to add to my list...and it wasn't as if the rest were far off at all!
The big surprise for me was how exceptionally fertile New England's folk(-rock) scene must be, because it wasn't the "big" names that made me check the booklet for more info, it was mainly the names that I never even heard of: Laurie Geltman's hauntingly beautiful Ghost In The House is full of dark secrets; Kerri Powers' Regards To Amsterdam has the bluesy power of an imminent thunderstorm; Jess Klein gives a no limp, no wimp love story with her Romeo; Mary Lou Lord innocently sings her sad eyed story Two Boats; Jules Verdone's Turnaround is a big city campfire song with chillingly whispered vocals; and last, but in no way least, Sandi Hammond' s pure vocals shine above the soft waters of Across The Bay. There, I made my choices. I mentioned six superb tracks, being aware that at a different hour I might come up with six different tracks! Don't expect to hear any one-dimensional music. The influences vary quite a bit with slightly alternative sounds meeting chiming guitars; smirky rockers are followed by woeful ballads. All this is summed up in one word: essential.
One warning, though - if you're presently short of money then this release could make you suffer, as you're bound to want to buy more of the music of the artists represented here. Lots more.
Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz