This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
Caroline Herring's day job is as a folklorist at Texas Folklife Resources in Austin. Heads up to the management at TFR: you better start pouring over resumes looking for her replacement. Her music is that good.
Like Kate Campbell, Herring chronicles southern life. She wraps the listener in a broad weave of personal reminiscences and cultural icons endemic to her home region. Hers is a pleasing and easy-to-listen-to voice, with a slight drawl. But it is her lyrics that push her to the fore as a talent to watch. They gently meander between straightforward, but dead-on, and challenging.
"Wise Woman" spotlights, within a context of a loving relationship, matter-of-fact, day-to-day life for those working the land:
"...we ground the cornShe contrasts that with the country-ish "Devil Made A Mess," a pedal steel-backed song featuring the requisite heartless and thoughtless but irresistibly attractive scoundrel.
molded lard and lye
had ten children
watched four die
I'll stand beside you when you meet the promised land..."
Presenting small town rural life in "Learning To Drive," Herring sings:
"...daddy taught her to never look twiceHerring moves the listener from Civil War times to the present with "Standing In The Water." Invoking Vicksburg, Grant, Sherman and slavery, she sings:
say thank-you ma'am and always look nice
be the best like a football team
scoring against the rivalry
keep the insides hammered down
best performer on the stage in town
a speck surrounded by soybean fields
in the land of red clay wheels..."
"...long gone the fish fry"Delta" encompasses the wandering and wondering life. Herrings sings:
long gone the moon pie
standing in the water
my dresses soiled and seen
good night cottonlandia
get your ghosts off of me..."
"I was on a Delta highwayHead on down to Dixieland with Caroline Herring. Time spent with her won't soon be forgotten.
twilight rising from the road
lightning shone on cotton fields
I drove through pink skies alone
went to Lourdes and Santiago
traveled down to New Orleans
between pilgrims and les bons temps
lived the visions and the dreams..."
Herring, on guitar and vocals, is supported by Peter Rowan on vocals, guitar and mandola; Jeff Plakenhorn on dobro; Billy Bright on mandolin and mandola; Eamon McLoughlin on fiddle; Bryn Bright on vocals, acoustic bass and cello; Paul Pearcy on percussion and drums; Lloyd Maines on pedal steel and dobro; John Inmon on vocals, electric guitar and percussion; Paul Glasse on mandolin and Richard Bowden on fiddle.
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