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Carol Noonan and Dana Cunningham - The Water is Wide

The Water is Wide

Carol Noonan &
Dana Cunningham

Noonan Music
695 Dugway Road
Brownfield, ME 04010

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Roberta B. Schwartz

Carol Noonan dreams big dreams. One of those dreams is to build a performing arts center on her farm in rural Maine. Sometimes dreams come true, and in this case, they do. Carol Noonan is opening the Stone Mountain Arts Center in her backyard sometime in the winter of 2006.

The Water Is Wide is a project in support of the Stone Mountain Arts Center. Money raised from the sale of the CD will help fund Noonan's dream. The recording is one of Noonan's best not only because it is heartfelt and contains eight wisely-chosen tunes, but because Noonan's voice is front and center, graced by the beautiful notes of Dana Cunningham's piano.

The recording opens with the traditional Water is Wide. This tune is always lovely, but Noonan adds a soulful depth made richer by Max Dyer on cello. There are many, many versions of the song out there, but this one has quickly become my favorite.

Fields of Gold, written by Sting, is a contemporary classic. The late, great Eva Cassidy also recorded a memorable version. What can you say about a stunner of a song sung by one of the great voices of the modern folk era? It is haunting, beautiful and mesmerizing as only Carol Noonan can do it.

Dana Cunningham, Noonan's wonderful pianist, provides two original piano pieces - the quietly beautiful Welcome to the World/Song for Ava Grace, and the lush and moving Leap of Faith.

In innumerable ballads, Carol Noonan has demonstrated that she knows how to tell a tale. Without a Trace is one of those memorable story songs about a girl who disappears into thin air. It breaks new ground for Noonan in that it feels like a story out right out of the evening news. There are no ghosts out of the past here. Cunningham's intricate work on the piano adds weight to the urgency and emotion in Noonan's voice. This Noonan original is the CD's best.

The recording closes with the instrumental Stone Mountain Lament, written by Noonan. Max Dyer's cello weaves in and out of Dana Cunningham's deep and resonant piano.

The Water Is Wide is truly a beautiful work of art - a painter's palette of gorgeous colors, moods and sounds. This is a worthy addition to any music lover's collection, and an important investment in the continuing story of acoustic music. And besides, you can become part of Carol Noonan's dream come true.

Track List:

  • Water is Wide (Traditional)
  • Fields of Gold (Sting)
  • Welcome to the World/Song for Ava Grace (D. Cunningham)
  • Without a Trace (C. Noonan)
  • Just Because (C. Noonan)
  • Leap of Faith (D. Cunningham)
  • Sail Away Home (C. Noonan)
  • Stone Mountain Lament (C. Noonan)

Edited by David N. Pyles

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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