various artists,
Honor: A Benefit for
the Honor the Earth Campaign

(Daemon, 1996)

Honor is a two-disc set of selections by leading artists to benefit the grassroots native organization Honor the Earth. This is an unbelievable collection of artists performing a wonderful variety of music to suit every taste. The theme of this set remains constant, all works address the current state of the world and society.

Some selections are poetry or spoken works supported by music and chanting, such as "All My Relations," "The Future is a War," "4R Ancestors" and "Out of the Blues." Some are songs, such as "Crazy Life," "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" and "Scattered."

"All My Relations" stands out for the chanting. "Wise Users" has a killer violin. "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" has the best strummed guitar works and interesting ending. "Scattered" is an extremely fast piece that is layered with vocals, chants and several musical parts. It is a mesmerizing piece that you will want to repeatedly.

David Grisman demonstrates outstanding mandolin skill in "Home." Quiltman's chanting in "Out of the Blues" is the best to be found anywhere. "One Knee Gospel" gives us excellent harmonica playing by Mike Jones in this bluesy song. The vocal effects in "A Day in the Life of a Tree" are astounding. Joy Harjo's suprano sax will carry you on a journey in "Creation Story" and her poetry will touch your heart. Disc #2 has an ending by Ulali that will blow you away.

"My Mother is Not the White Dove" is my favorite on disc #1. It is in a class of its own for the piano and trumpet, along with intriguing vocal effects. Jane Siberry has a powerful voice that holds quality and beauty across an impressive range. She also is a master of vocal effects.

"Motel Notell" was my favorite on disc #2 because it rocks! It is the quality that we have all come to expect from Soul Asylum. From the vocals to the music, it is outstanding in every way. It is the only really fast, rock selection in the collection. I salute them for that. The only song I did not like was "21st Century Man." Victoria Williams has no singing talent. She needs to present her works as spoken and leave the singing to performers with voices suited for the profession.

Other performers include Ulali, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Bruce Cockburn, Luka Bloom, Keith Secola and Wild Band of Indians, Rusted Root, Bonnie Raitt and David Grisman, Latin Playboys, Indigo Girls and Matthew Sweet.

I cannot recommend this CD set strongly enough! It is like a "who's who" or "the best of the best" collection. These are top artists performing knockout selections.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 6 September 2003

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