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Paula Sinclair & Uncle Tumbleweed - The Good Horse

The Good Horse

Paula Sinclair & Uncle Tumbleweed

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Frank Gutch Jr.
(frank.gutch.jr@gmail.com)

When Paula Sinclair fell into the dreaded black hole which visits most creative forces on occasion, she must have felt like her musical days were over. Blessed with a voice made for song, she still could have carved out a living, but she obviously is not one to just interpret or mouth other people's works. Anyone who knows or has heard her knows what a force she can be. So when she hit the brick wall, to her all seemed lost, if only for a short time.

Luckily, the brick wall hit back. One day, she found that she need not do everything herself. While consoling herself with poetry, the music magically began to flow, strangely enough, with the words and phrases. A few months later, she walked into a recording studio to lay down a bare bones version of what was to become The Good Horse. With only guitar and voice, she lay out song after song—a poet's words and her music creating a new whole.

Not long after, Sinclair headed into 8 Ball Studio and came out with an album capable of not only destroying the black hole, but putting her on a different and satisfying path—satisfying for herself and for those lucky enough to discover her music. Patently inspired by the works of William Stafford, Dorian Laux and others, she throws herself into an odd collaboration, taking their words and her music into a world laden with roots, both folk and country, and coming out the other end with a gem. This is dirt-under-your-fingernails folk and losing-your-mind country at its best, and the fact that Sinclair left lyrics to poets takes nothing away. The stories told and the emotions felt say it all with a refreshing honesty, and Sinclair's music—have I said refreshing and honest?

The package does not hurt, either. Rather than leave you with just the finished product, she includes that bare bones disc to give you insight into the creative process. And let me tell you, it's quite a jump from acoustic guitar and voice (a very nice disc and one I prefer in my more solemn moments) to the full session completed product. The music, straddling folk and country beautifully, comes alive as Uncle Tumbleweed lays itself out with its guitar/bass/pedal steel/keyboard/drums structure, fleshing out theme after theme. Putting Sinclair's voice on top is like putting butter on toast—a combination hard to beat.

Not many could put together a project of such depth with the touch Sinclair gives this. She has talent way beyond her voice. She knows things. Deep things. Dark things. Wonderful and maybe not so wonderful things. The fact remains, she knows. I can tell.

Track List:

  • Song Now (William Stafford)
  • Sunday Radio (Dorianne Laux)
  • Telephone Repair Man (Joseph Millar)
  • The Good Horse (William Stafford)
  • Love Pirates (Joseph Millar)
  • The Shadow (Debbie West)
  • Twist and Turns (Debbie West)
  • Uncle Tumbleweed (Jarold Ramsey)
  • Dust (Dorianne Laux)
  • Our Story (William Stafford)
Lyrics written as poetry by the above people. All music written by Paula Sinclair.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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