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Carla Seidl - Under My Skin

Under My Skin

Carla Seidl

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Carla Seidl is traveling back to a modern tradition that has been much neglected of late, that of reveling in the female voice, the sort of celebration seen in Judy Collins' and Joan Baez's early catalog, though Seidl is more akin to Laura Nyro than Joanie or Judy. Armed with just her trusty guitar and simple chordal backgrounds, as well as a bit of fingerpicking here and there, she takes an oft melismatic approach to her own work and a scattering of other compositions.

Seidl's traits are best shown in a quartet of songs, starting with her Veins to the Oak, commencing as a very soft lullabye before jumping into a songbird workout reminiscent of East European and middle-Eastern traditions, wordless vocal instrumentation meant to bring the purely human production of sound to par with the more mechanical. That flows into Gul Senin Tenin, carrying the trait into Turkish lyrics, achieving the same effect in a more constrained atmosphere, proving a contention I've long held: encanting in a language not native to the audience forces the listeners to consider the musicality of the voice much more profoundly.

A Subtle Glance then strongly brings out Seidl's Nyro-ish tendencies, a cut where she ranges up and down the register beautifully, artfully, exploiting fluidities in which the female voice holds superiorities to the male (and it's rare, except in cases like the historied Farinelli, that even a counter-tenor will essay what women can far more naturally invoke) before settling into the trad chestnut Scarborough Fair, given its well deserved ancient respects.

Now, I've said the above cuts best illustrate Seidl's talents, but the remainder of the CD is a feast of her sumptuous talent only occasionally slightly marred, as in Quante Stelle nel Cielo con la Luna, which packs just way too many words into its lines to ever resolve comfortably (and this is the original songwriter's fault, not Carla's). On the other hand, when airing her own words, she has a refreshingly 'anti-' attitude when it comes to orthodoxy: "Don't be afraid to step out of line / 'Cause that's the only way to find your own style". And that's obviously how she came to her own graces.

Track List:

  • Flame in the Dark
  • Quante Stelle nel Cielo con la Luna (Lucilla Galeazzi)
  • Dreamin'
  • I Had Something (Kaplansky / Litvin)
  • Stronger Woman
  • Azerbajaijani Woman
  • Under my Skin
  • Veins to the Oak
  • Gul Senin Tenin (Bora Yalcinduran)
  • A Subtle Glance
  • Scarborough Fair (Traditional)
  • Not Alone
  • Far and Wide (traditional ["Wondrous Love"] / Seidl)
  • Live Like You Mean It (traditional ["Wade in the Water"] / Seidle)
All songs written by Carla Seidle except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


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

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