Sunday, August 23, 2015

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: KIM ERICKSON - THE RAVEN'S WING



Erickson is a mezzo soprano, composer and pianist from Thunder Bay, where she teaches music at Lakehead University. Her interests range from classical to traditional styles, world music, cabaret and folk. While most accomplished vocalists pursue that specialty, Erickson writes the majority of the collection here, and provides the grand piano, the lead instrument in the small orchestra on The Raven's Wing.


Poetic and romantic, the songs feature a nod to grand Gaelic ballads. The emotional path introduces us to characters fair and tender, with hearts strong enough to make sorrows drop away. Love is equal to, and another element here, standing strong in the wind, traveling long journeys on the sea, growing new with springtime. The language is modern, but the form is that of centuries past; "Dark is the raven's wing/My love is darker still."


Erickson is joined by double-bassist Joe Phillips, who also arranged the string section of Drew Jurecka (violin) and Amy Laing (cello), and in yeoman service, provides the inspired classical guitar in the middle of the collection, for Woman of Valour and Come All Your Fair Ones, the latter a new arrangement of the traditional song. These two songs share more than the guitar; they are the plucky centerpiece to the album, songs of great strength amidst the swirling emotions, letting us know these are not lightweight hearts or songs, just beautiful ones, the strongest ones of course.

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