Kris Delmhorst, |
Songs for a Hurricane
(Signature Sounds, 2003)
Kris Delmhorst took a while to establish herself as a singer-songwriter, Growing up in Brooklyn, Kris took a path that included, teaching, working on a chicken farm and a schooner, and traveling through Ireland before turning to music. Currently living in Cambridge, Mass., she has become a respected part of Boston's vibrant music scene. Her experiences greatly helped her develop her skills as a songwriter.
Her third CD, Songs for a Hurricane, produced by Morphine's Billy Conway, is full of the same folk, rock, rootsy-sounding songs that made her first two CDs so good. The songs take a look different aspects of relationships. She describes the songs as the universal tale of going into a storm and coming out the other side whole, wiser and forever changed, and she does it with a level of maturity that is often not seen with many younger artists.
The opening track, "Waiting Under the Waves," tells the story of a turbulent relationship that is ending. "East of the Mountains" has a great rock 'n' rootsy feel to it. "You're No Train" is a folk-bluesy sad love song. "Bobby Lee" is another rootsy piece. "Come Home," with it's banjo accompaniment, blends folk and blues.
The CD includes Billy Conway on drums, Andrew Mazzone on bass, Julie Wolf on keyboards and, playing guitar on various tracks, Mark Erelli, Jabe Beyer, Kevin Berry and Steve Mayone.
Songs for a Hurricane is a very good CD that combines songs with thoughtful lyrics and nice melodies with a pleasant voice that you could listen to all day.
Kris Delmhorst grew up in Brooklyn in what is described as a "four part harmony in the car" family, and this set her on an inevitable path to songwriting and performing. Anyone giving even a cursory listen to this album will be thankful for those car trips.
Songs for a Hurricane might be classed as what in the older days was called a "concept album." Delmhorst has taken a hurricane as her motif and written and arranged some excellent songs to mirror the course of such a storm.
Opening with "Waiting Under the Waves," she traces the sequence of the storm from that eerie silence. But don't be fooled, these are not weather songs. They are well-crafted tales of life and love. Her song cycle takes us through the build-up of energy, the quiet of the eye and the release of tension.
I particularly like "Hurricane," which uses the imagery of the storm to relate a personal tale of a person who does not want "the quiet life."
A beautiful surprise comes as you leave the storm on track 13. This is heartfelt rendition of the traditional "Mingalay." This gives us a beautiful sound picture of the sun returning and life returning to normal after the hurricane. The album is worth its cost just to hear this track -- so you get great value with 12 other excellent songs.