Edie Carey,
Call Me Home
(Accidental Poet, 2000)

Let me admit to something. While I may like many of the CDs I review for Rambles, I honestly only put them through a couple of rotations on the CD player and then shelve them. Many of them are good, but they just don't make it much farther than that. But sometimes a CD comes along that I just can't get enough of. Edie Carey's Call Me Home is one such CD.

Folk-pop artist Carey combines all my favorite elements into a truly amazing release: a beautiful, expressive voice, distinctive acoustic arrangements and poetic, surprising lyrics. There's not a bad song on this entire CD. I should know -- I've listened to it non-stop more times than I can count. As a reviewer, I'm tempted to list the merits of every single song, but that would take too long. So let me hit the high points -- the highest of the high, I should say -- and keep in mind that this applies to the whole CD.

Carey packs a full range of emotions into the nine songs on this CD, from playful and free-spirited on "Disco Ball Heart" to introspective and unsure on the title track "Call Me Home." That first track, "Disco Ball Heart," features the closest thing to a full-band arrangement of any of the tracks, but that's not a detriment. Rather, Carey does an excellent job of using the music to augment what's being said in the lyrics; as a result, most of the songs feature sparser arrangements (usually just Carey on her guitar). This style lets the listeners pay attention to what is being said, and Carey says a lot. "Violently," which is my second favorite track on the CD, introduces relationships with this evocative analogy: "No no I can't be trusted / driving out here alone with my thoughts / cuz my brakes are busted / and the engine's shot."

I don't like to make comparisons here, because Carey is a talented artist that deserves her own recognition. Yet I can't give you a true sense of the beauty of her voice without giving you something with which to identify. Many of Carey's phrasings reminded me of Ani DiFranco -- her voice moves from rough-edged and bold to a softer, quieter delivery that captures the full range of emotions found in the lyrics. At times, and especially on the spectacular "Black Wool Dress" (the story of a mother whose only daughter dies), she sounds more like Sarah McLachlan -- there's a luminous, shimmering quality to her voice that speaks of tears trapped just below the surface. I've never heard a more perfect melding of delivery, lyrics and instrumentation, to be honest.

The promotional version of the CD has an added bonus: live portions of the songs and recordings of Carey's onstage banter. This is where the real similarity to DiFranco struck me. At one point, I think I even asked myself, "What is Ani DiFranco doing talking on this CD?" They both possess the same wry, self-mocking tone at times, and neither of them minds acting a little goofy. (The fact that both are from New York and share the same accent strengthens the comparison). These extra tracks are testimony to Carey's talent -- she's one of those artists that sounds even better live, which is the mark of a great performer in my opinion.

I've gone on long enough about Call Me Home. I suggest that you go out and buy your own copy. You can't have mine -- I rarely take it out of the CD player.

[ by Audrey M. Clark ]
Rambles: 28 July 2001

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