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Delightful songs and a soft, relaxing voice
Colin Spence | Formby, UK | 06/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Canadian singer-songwriter Catherine Maclellan when a couple of songs from 'Water In The Ground' were previewed on a BBC radio folk music programme about a month ago. On the strength of this, I bought the album; initially, it didn't have much impact, but the more I played it, the more I liked it - and now, I like it a lot! This release not only includes 'Water In the Ground'(Disc 1), but also(on Disc 2), her first release 'Dark Dream Midnight' (but not taken into consideration for the purpose of this review).
'Water In the Ground' is an album of easy on the ear contemporary folk-pop with, for the most part, a high 'feel good' factor. CM has a fairly soft, slightly 'husky-bluesy' voice and a relaxed style of singing - on the up-tempo numbers, her voice reminds me a little of Eddi Reader and, on a few of the slow tempo songs, Brandi Carlile and Eilen Jewell. Instrumental accompaniment is semi-acoustic - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, nylon string guitar, acoustic bass, mandolin, drums and percussion; also, brief appearances are made by cello, accordion, steel guitar, banjo, piano and harmonium. There are some captivating short instrumental solos to listen out for (often at the end of the song) - these feature mainly various guitars and mandolin; also, a few songs have pleasant harmony vocals - and those on 'Set This Heart On Fire' should not be missed.
CM writes pretty songs with undemanding, but well-crafted, lyrics and melodies that often linger. None of the songs really rock, but there is a good mix of rhythms and tempos - songs with a customary folksy lilt ('Water In The Ground', 'Set This Heart On Fire'); plaintive, slow tempo numbers ('Isabels's Song', 'Again From The Start'); or those with a 'brushed drum swing' to give a light 'jazz-blues' feel ('Take A Break', 'Not Much To Do'). The music has very little edge, and her lyrics are virtually 'angst-free'. There are no songs that I dislike, each one of these songs has something that I can enjoy - be it the vocals, the harmonies, the playing or the melodies (in most cases, all of these ingredients).
The inclusion of 2 or 3 songs with a bit more edge would have been welcomed - but somehow, I don't think this is Catherine Maclellan's style. 'Water In The Ground' presents the listener with a stream (no pun intended) of gentle and refined music featuring elegant songs which manage to avoid sounding precious. Feeling a bit stressed out? - then turn down the lights, treat yourself to a large measure of your favourite tipple, and put 'Water In The Ground' in your CD player.
It's a Keeper!
Linda Kate | McKinleyville, CA United States | 04/16/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I had to put this CD aside for awhile simply because I was afraid I afraid I would wear it out. I played it every day for weeks! It's that good."