Colleen McFarland has an enticing, high register, warbling voice that's instantly engaging within a country folk pop sound. Let It Shine is her fourth CD, and the erudition of the past shows well in it, resulting in an extremely fetching effort. Every cut swims in lavish treatment and considered arrangements, not a single track less than absorbing.
London demonstrates a vocal approach simultaneously delicate and strong, ringing out with warmth and concern amid the heartache of the temporal world, always looking to the future with hope. Everything here is relationship centered, and, even if that's not your cuppa, McFarland's voice and the disc's instrumentation are virtues in and of themselves. On the other hand, whoever thought about putting a tuba, trombone, and trumpet in a mainstream love song? Well, Colleen did and they work beautifully, Dave Jacques playing all three like a one-man N'awleans back section, McFarland's chipper refrains dancing and frolicking atop.
This is indeed, as my words should be indicating, chart material. Would to God the radio carried more like it, I might turn on damned music radio once in a while, because there's nothing like a good melody and a well carried tune. Naturally, the CD isn't all happy highways and hail fellow well mets—what with Suicide Road exploring self-destruction and bad decisions, the Ronstadt side of McFarland emerging—but that darker element also has its undeniable attractions.
Interestingly, her selection of the Bhagavad Gita's line "It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of someone else's life with perfection" was a particularly choice epigram for the sentiments of Let It Shine…and if she wants to read a fascinating account of the ancient document, I suggest picking up Phulgenda Sinha's The Gita As It Was, showing that the esteemed book is not really quite what people think it is, nor are, for instance, the sage Nichiren's thoughts (an' ya hafta read the liner notes to understand why I even say that).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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