FAME Review: Carolyn Currie - Echolocation
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Carolyn Currie - Echolocation

Echolocation

Carolyn Currie

North C Records © 2014

Available from Carolyn Currie's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwart@bowdoin.edu)

Carolyn Currie's music is a gift. She writes and sings her songs from the heart. She sings in the voice of what you might think an angel would sound like: ethereal, haunting and lovely all at once. Her concerns are our concerns: the ups and downs of life, the beauty of the natural world, the things she observes around her as she moves from day to day.

Echolocation is Currie's fifth recording. The project took her down to Nashville, where it was produced by Celeste Krenz, an established country singer/songwriter and producer. The response from the music establishment has been swift. Currie won the 2014 Wildflower Songwriting Competition, and was chosen to compete at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriting competition this past August, where she was awarded second place. I have stated it before and I will do it again: Carolyn Currie is something special.

Sleepwalking Home is the first cut on the new CD, and it is a thing of beauty. Backed by sounds as disparate as an electric guitar and an Irish flute, along with acoustic guitar and strings, the song hints at a loved one who is gone, but not forgotten, haunting the singer's waking and sleeping hours:

And all I can do is wait forever
And all I can hold now are these tears
And all I remember is you loved me
And all I am left with are these years

Red Light Green Light is a paean to the beauty of a summer's night, and trying to capture a moment in time. References are made to children growing up too quickly, a mother's love gone too soon, and the swiftness of time. There is a wonderful backing vocal by Michael Kelsh, creating a nice harmony with Currie's inimitable soprano.

Dazzling and mysterious, Heart Like a Rose speaks of two lovers coming together with their separate pasts and separate stories. The song is quiet and lovely, with Currie's sweet vocal and poetic lyrics at the center. The notes are finger picked on guitar and softly played out on keyboards. It will stick in your memory.

Drunkenness and physical abuse are at the heart of the story told by Red Hawk Rising. This is a cautionary tale about those who can and those who cannot fight back in the face of this kind of ongoing terror. The red hawk symbolizes those who can rise above and lash back at their oppressor. Currie pounds out the beat on her acoustic guitar, with Mike Payne's electric guitar picking up the rhythm as the lyrics spell out the story. Ken Lewis on percussion kicks in as the tune comes to a crashing conclusion: "and the red hawk's rising on the back of the sky/ and she's circling with an answer and I finally understand that you can die."

The recording closes with a very pretty tune called Old Song, which is filled with images and memories from the past: summer nights, band concerts with local boys playing, cotton candy, the swaying of porch swings and the banging of screen doors. There is a wonderful backing vocal here provided by producer Celeste Krenz, which creates an almost heavenly chorus of voices.

In Echolocation, Carolyn Currie's voice rises above all the other CD releases of the summer. In a lovely, sweet and distinctive voice all of her own, she spins stories of the passage of time, where yearning memories lie. But not all is calm in that life moves us forward, people we love die and leave us, children grow up, relationships change, and life sometimes becomes filled with danger. But the memories of warm summer nights, the loved ones who stay with us, and the old songs continue to play as we create new ones.

In answer to the proverbial question of what music would you take with you on the deserted island in the ocean, I can't think of anyone who would top that list more than the music of Carolyn Currie. There is always more to discover inside her lyrics and in the haunting, ethereal quality of her voice. It is so beautiful, you can get lost in it in a way that you do not want to be found. Echolocation builds on her vocal and lyrical talents. I hope that these words introduce more people to her music. There is something special going on here, and her name is Carolyn Currie.

Track List:

  • Sleepwalking Home
  • Red light Green Light
  • Echolocation
  • Safe in the Eyes of the Moon
  • Darkness
  • Heart Like a Rose
  • February Morning
  • Red Hawk Rising
  • This Young Man
  • Letting Go
  • Old Song
All songs written by Carolyn Currie except
Red Hawk Rising (Carolyn Currie and Celeste Krenz).

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

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society avd Roberta B. Schwartz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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