Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Rebecca Hall Sings!
In the year and a half since its humble beginnings as a home-recorded and home-burned CD, Rebecca Hall Sings! has turned a lot of heads. Listeners are drawn in, no doubt, by Rebecca's deep, resonant alto, with an irresist... more »
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In the year and a half since its humble beginnings as a home-recorded and home-burned CD, Rebecca Hall Sings! has turned a lot of heads. Listeners are drawn in, no doubt, by Rebecca's deep, resonant alto, with an irresistible hint of twang. But as the album unfolds, Rebecca's songwriting takes center stage, echoing the timeless themes of Appalachian ballads, the concise storytelling of classic songwriters such as Townes van Zandt, and the delicate arrangements of early British folk-rock. Solely by word of mouth, Rebecca Hall has already gained many admirers?from Radio Thrift Shop's Laura Cantrell, to the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, to fans around the globe. Remastered and repackaged here for wide release, Rebecca Hall Sings! will soon take its place as a classic folk album.
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Rebecca Hall Sings...AND HOW!
nanker | New York | 08/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nowadays, where modern music is usually either an electronically programmed danceable rhythm with a few stockpile lyrics tossed on top, or an unmelodic concrete wall of distorted overloud power chords for people who just want to thrash and mosh, how refreshing it is to find an artist who still believes in the power and beauty of a well-written song, and who puts total focus into making that song as effective as possible. Rebecca Hall is that kind of an artist. New York singer-songwriter Rebecca Hall is not your typical modern day folkie. While most of the Apple's self-proclaimed folksingers playing in the Village are little more than jinga-jinga-jing strummers of chord progressions that are either predictable or unimaginative, beneath failed attempt of lyrical poignancy, Rebecca truly paints pictures and tells stories. Her musical backdrop never contradicts her lyrics. Instead both complement each other, working together to add further color to her emotional canvas.The journey begins with "Hard Way To Learn." In addition to Rebecca's soft, sweet voice, two prime elements of Rebecca's overall sound that will become constant companions throughout the trip make their presence known immediately on this song. One is Rebecca's penchant for minor-key compositions. The other is violinist Rachel Birkin, who along with cellist Chris George, adorns many of the selections with skillful playing that, depending on the track, either makes the smiles wider or adds a further coat of melancholy glazing. "See You Soon" has Rebecca delivering a well-worded kiss-off to a would-be returning name out of her past.Rebecca then introduces us to the "Man of Poor Fortune," even taking on his character at times. This is, perhaps, the most impressive work featured, as it perfectly replicates the kind of story/minstrel songs that folk artists of the early 1960's were either writing themselves, or plowing through old songbooks to find. Rebecca's tale assumes many voices and takes many turns, some of them quite graphic.But her knack for lyrics is further exemplified in the next track, "Like You Do," in which she addresses an old acquaintance, lamenting their lack of communication and depth.She also addresses an enigmatic character in "Not the Same," pointing out the differences between him then and now, using a finger-picking style reminiscent of Paul Simon on his first album with Artie. One longs for the days of vinyl elpees after hearing this song, as this would have made a splendid side-closer and curtain dropper (and had Rebecca been around for the early 1960's folk scene, she most certainly would have been on Vanguard.)The second half kicks off with a joyful country-tinged singalong, "On the Other Side," co-written by her husband Ken Anderson (who also contributes some fine harmonies to this track and others) in which she sings about leaving troubles behind with the help of the light from above. Some Neil Young style harmonica gives this an extra nice finesse.But what exactly is to be found on that other side? A sad young heartbroken girl walking by the "Long Black Shore." As mentioned previously, and as this song shows perfectly, Rebecca knows how to tell musical stories, as this song takes us right down to the shore, watching the poor jilted lover stroll in sorrow. A pair of traditional numbers follows, both showing Rebecca's gift of interpretation. On her truly beautiful reading of "Winter Is Gone," Rebecca begins with simply her voice and acoustic guitar, but as the song progresses, the violins creep in slowly and grow in intensity like dark clouds forming, anticipating a storm on the way. Thankfully, the clouds gently dissipate as the song gently slows to a stop.Next comes a very original take on the classic "I Know You Rider." Perhaps best known in faster, upbeat versions by numerous artists like The Byrds, The Rose Garden, and most notably The Grateful Dead, Rebecca goes the other way and reverts to a minor key for a dark and mysterious rendition, not too much unlike Simon and Garfunkel's "Benedictus."Her final selection is another with a country flavor, Ralph Stanley's "Darkest Hour Is Before The Dawn." It's a gentle waltz with gorgeous harmonies, and a fitting number to bring up the houselights with.Among the many words one could use to describe Rebecca Hall Sings is paradoxical! Her music has a lovely intimate feel, a sense that she's right there in the room with her nylon string guitar, singing just for you, sharing her songs and stories directly. But at the same time, once Rebecca's strumming fingers lead her into a song, she locks herself completely inside of it, lost in the world of her song's character, taking on her (or his, in cases like "Man Of Small Fortune") emotions, not unlike a talented actor stepping into a role. Likewise, Rebecca's music has the true flavor of the Greenwich Village coffeehouse folk music scene to the point that one can practically smell the coffee while listening. But then again, her lyrics often instantly transport us to other lands and more rural settings of back porches and open plains, a hundred miles from Bleeker Street and Washington Square.'Rebecca Hall Sings' is a perfect Sunday morning album. The music is quite tranquil, and casually and unobtrusively invites the listener to sit back and give the music and lyrics complete attention. I gave Rebecca my complete attention. She awarded me with a wonderful musical journey. I hope we will travel again soon."