Sunday, March 23, 2014


How may singers are there in the world?  Well, all of us I suppose, but a small percentage are good enough to carry a tune, and an even smaller bunch do it professionally.  Even that number probably counts in the hundreds of thousands if not millions around the world.  And how many of those have truly memorable voices that from the moment you hear them, stand out as pure and perfect?  I listen to music all day long on good days, and I dunno, I figure I might have heard a couple of hundred in my time, at least from the folk/jazz/pop world I hang around.  Clela has one of them.

Clela Errington is a Toronto based folk-world music singer, who writes most of her own songs and plays guitar and ukelele.  On her latest, you get a mix of songs with just her voice and accompaniment, and some with soft, spare and well-chosen backing, from strings, steel guitar, some light synth, etc.  The focus is clearly on her voice and words, the first of those truly stunning, the lyrics heartfelt and sentimental.  Much like Eva Cassidy, when you hear her sing for the first time, you wonder where this voice has been all your life, and want to hear more.

She can do lots, and I think we're only get a taste of what she's capable of here.  Open Up My Heart is a hypnotic, mystic blues, where she gets to lean back and perform with power, quite a stand-up in a set dominated by softer numbers.  Home On High is one of the songs performed solo, just her guitar, a lament for a passing friend, but sung with a great amount of joy for the life and strength this woman is showing in her last time.  It's a terrific and powerful lyric, meant to give heart to the family and friends of this loved one, and must have done the job.  Indigo Blue is a lovely closer, a lullaby for a child played out at the end of the day.

The ukelele playing is a nice touch, taking us away from all-acoustic guitar tunes, and it's especially effective on More Love And Happiness, a song written in tribute to Kate & Anna McGarrigle, mentioned in the opening verse, sung in French.  I'm not so keen on another tribute, Angels On the Radio, too cliche in its reference to Dolly Parton, Townes Van Zandt and Emmylou Harris, hoping to one day join them on the airwaves.  Since she can sing anything and make it amazing, I'd love to hear her find an inspired cover (like, not Hallelujah or Songbird) and make it her own.

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