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Rachel Harrington - City of Refuge

City of Refuge

Rachel Harrington

Available from Rachel Harrington's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

One of the best music magazines on the planet is Britain's Mojo, a long-running venue that sports good writers, great coverage, and excellent art direction. Mojo named Ms. Harrington's City of Refuge at 4 stars, as did the Irish Times, The London Sun, and Q. Pretty damned impressive, and they had good reason.

Harrington's is a mournful voice and her venue of exploration tends to the historic and literary, here covering such diverse personnel as Harry Truman and Raymond Carver, not to mention the not-so-knowns and complete unknowns of the Old West...nor is she shy about her soul and passions:

I wanna rock, I wanna roll
I want the devil at my front door
Come after me, come after dark
Break my body and take my heart

From A Housewife's Lament, that pretty much beats the crap outta Oprah and gets back to earthier days and ways a la a saloon Anais Nin. She also puts the edge back into her take on "Ode to Billie Joe", which Bobbie Gentry, as great as her original was, kinda made urban-ironic, less nervous, not as fraught with angst as it should've been. The mournful trad I Don't Want to get Adjusted to this World kinda puts the nightcap on it as well, following in a lament upon just what Billie Joe and his lover were tossing off the Tallahachee Bridge.

Harrington's voice is perfectly polished and her instrumental backing evocative of the golden past. She makes sure, all through City of Refuge, that mythology doesn't shine through quite so brightly as in the saccharine popular mind, hers a far more accurate reflection of an oft sorrowful reality rather than the chart equivalent of Sugar Frosted Corn Flakes. The disc is a spare and mournful CD but, oh, the many hidden beauties in seeing things as they are and hearing them spun out so melodically.

Track List:

  • Karen Kane (Rachel Harrington)
  • A Housewife's Lament (Rachel Harrington)
  • Old Time Religion / Working on a Building (traditional)
  • Truman (Harrington / Borden)
  • Carver (Rachel Harrington)
  • The Clearcut (Rachel Harrington)
  • Angel Boy (Rachel Harrington)
  • Ode to Billy Joe (Bobby Gentry)
  • I Don't Want to get Adjusted to this World (traditional)
  • Under the Big Top (Rachel Harrington)

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

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Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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