Carolyn Currie has a distinctive voice—one part Dar Williams, one part Alison Krauss and a smidgeon of Nanci Griffith. But there is no mistaking that haunting, soprano sound. You are under her spell from the first note.
Her journey to music is as interesting as her voice. She is a Mainer by way of Washington State, having arrived in the northeast after giving up her pursuit of a doctorate. She chose to raise her children and concentrate on music instead. The academy can wait!
Waves of Silence is Currie's fourth CD. It has a quiet beauty about it, but there is strength and richness underneath. Firstly, there is Currie's voice front and center: hushed and haunting both. But her real skill lies in the lyrics and her ability to tell a story; to convey hopes and dreams that play across a universal stage.
The recording opens with a song called Rain that immediately pulls you in. David Lange, who also wears a producer's hat on this project, plays keyboards so skillfully that you feel you are inside a northwestern hideaway looking out on the rain. But then the lyrics take you from the rain-soaked northwestern forests to the bombs raining down on the people of Iraq. How does one explain war to one's children? How do you reconcile violence in a world that craves peace? In the meantime, a cold rain continues to fall outside....
Don't Run with Scissors is one of those songs whose lyrics and melody get under your skin and stay there. It is all about taking risks and throwing all caution to the wind. Currie accompanies herself with some particularly fine finger-picking on guitar, and Hanz Araki distinguishes himself on pennywhistle and flute. Roberta Downey's cello and Paul Elliott's fiddle help to make this song soar.
Nature plays a central role in Currie's world: from the self-contained island reaching out to the sea in I am an Island, to the central role of water washing away the complicated thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of suicide in After, to the call of the sea in Ahab's Wife.
Rolling Thunder is the centerpiece and most moving song in a recording full of memorable stories. It captures the sights and sounds of the war in Vietnam, and especially the band of brothers who fought side by side and supported each other in injury, death and degradation. Mark Ivester's work on percussion—creating the sounds of war and replicating the bombs and military marches—is simply stunning.
And then we have the hot sexiness of Hot for a House, and the gentle words and sweet cello sounds of Lullaby.
Carolyn Currie is a revelation. She sings as if she is the lead vocalist of a heavenly choir -- soft and sweet, yet haunting and magical. Her finger-picking on six and twelve-string guitar frames the music and elevates it far beyond the ordinary singer/songwriter fare. She knows how to surround herself with and get the most out of a highly skilled group of professional musicians—each and every one an artist. Waves of Silence deserves a listen by an audience beyond her fan base in the northwest, and her current home state of Maine. Hers is music that not only soothes the senses, but is not afraid to move you and make you think. But mostly you want to hear more. Carolyn Currie has arrived.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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