A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
The cover of this CD shows Liz Queler sitting in front of a bare stone wall. The colours surrounding her black and white picture are held in a rather cold grayish green. Just looking at this image, I got the impression that this was going to be an album full of hard rocking tunes. I was wrong.
No, this record is a one of the most beautiful collections of acoustic pop/folk that I have heard recently. I have tried long and hard to hear the influences here, and have come up with only a few. I think this speaks for Liz Queler's originality. Somehow I sort of imagine that Liz Queler may have listened to the Beatles quite a bit. Less to their rock'n'roll heyday, and more to their pop-oriented tunes.
Only about half of the songs include drums and/or bass, but even when they are used, they have to stand back behind other musical instruments. Be it the wonderful accordion (played by producer Seth Farber) on It's Better That Way, or the superb dobro by Jeff Pevar, or Freddy Koella's equally terrific violin on the opening song, Long Hard Road.
Silent Witness is about the Oklahoma bomber. The song has an unbelievably sad aura, while the melody alone seems enough to tell the story in all its details. And yet the words make the song even stronger: Late into the night/For hours in a room/Definite and right/He'll teach us all real soon/It's tattooed on his arm/It's lying in a grave/The country that he loves/He's killing just to save
Liz Queler is an accomplished guitarist who is blessed with a free-flowing and engaging voice that is able to adapt different styles with ease and grace. Never mind whether she plays a country/folk number like Times Have Changed (with background vocals by Cliff Eberhardt), or George and Ira Gershwin's song The Man I Love, Liz Queler delivers it all with the required taste and knowledge.
Silent Witness is a very exctiting album full of catchy tunes, carefully planned and executed with great love. Liz Queler has secured her record a lot of airplay from my sound system. And this is not about to change for a long time to come.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz