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Home > Magazine > Article Archive > News

Reviews: Mary Rocap ~ Indian Summer
Posted on Saturday, April 08, 2006 @ 08:04:47 UTC
Topic: Reviews

Artist: Mary Rocap

CD: Indian Summer

Home: Cedar Grove, North Carolina

Style: Folk

Quote: "Simple arrangements of guitar, vocals, bass, percussion, fiddle, pennywhistle and concertina accent this lovely album of stellar writing as well as four traditional songs."

By Jamie Anderson

With her traditional folk sounding ballads, you’ll swear she’s Gillian Welch’s long lost sister. Simple arrangements of guitar, vocals, bass, percussion, fiddle, pennywhistle and concertina accent this lovely album of stellar writing as well as four traditional songs. Her plain but warm voice with a slight trill is perfect for her portraits of dreams, everyday life and spirituality. Joining her on several songs are her daughters and nieces, a group she calls her angel singers.

“Corner Market” is crisp with vivid images of childhood wanderings to the local store where she’s afraid of the storekeeper but happy to go, especially if she sees the train and gets him to “make the whistle whine.” The guitars on the title cut shimmer like the weather. A solo pennywhistle takes the break and comes back later to do an ethereal duet. “Grasshopper’s Lullaby” is a pretty ballad in three quarter time that she wrote for her daughters.

The traditional tunes fit in well with her originals. I especially like “Never Grow Old” because it has a pleasant singalong feel, thanks to the Angel Singers. “Stand Up on the Mountain” is a hymn with a great talking vocal that really adds an emotional feel. Another song on the same theme is “Hallelujah,” but this one has a solid gospel piano at its center. She calls “Cassiopeia” a loose telling of the myth. The compelling lyrics are dark and haunting, leaving you with questions about this sad stranger. It’s based on a dream as is “Flamingos” but this one is lighter. After a big storm, she finds a flock of flamingos in the yard and makes a wreath from their feathers as a reminder of how they brightened a drab day.

Some of the most impressive lyrics are found in “Orion,” a perfect match for music by Thomas Moore:

Orion was out at midnight
Shooting arrows at the moon
Was he trying to play Cupid?
Amid bright stars he loomed
I hid below in darkness
As the arrows they missed their mark
And like meteors they fell
And one, it pierced my heart ...


It sounds like an old fashioned ballad your grandmother might have enjoyed – one that doesn’t dull with age. Beautiful.

Don't miss the charming duet of "Why Oh Why" by Woody Guthrie that she does with her (then) six year old daughter. It's the bonus track at the end that's not listed in the credits.

While the arrangements are lovely and suit the songs well, I long for a spirited fiddle or a more aggressive guitar to add some variety to what is a laid back mix of songs. Still, if you like traditional folk rich with imagery, you’ll want this album. You won’t have to wait for an Indian Summer.

Buy CD http://www.maryrocap.com










 
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