Lucy Kaplansky, |
Over the Hills
(Red House, 2007)
Lucy Kaplansky sings of life, love, joy and sadness, but she does it all with a style that cannot be replicated. Through 10 songs on Over the Hills she draws us into her life and her history in a way that few singer/songwriters can. Listening to the songs, you feel as if she is chatting with you on the telephone and sharing all but with a beautiful musical backing.
Like the best of writers, she knows how to take another person's work and reinterpret it without damaging the original, but still giving us a new song. I thought only Johnny Cash could do "Ring of Fire" properly; I was pleasantly surprised by this lighter and sweeter version of an iconic song. "Swimming Song" is another case in point, although the track is less well known by another artist; it sounds like it was written for Kaplansky.
Her co-written title track is a beautiful slow song that evokes a visualisation of her words. The backing vocals by another lady with a similar view and talent, Eliza Gilkyson, add immensely to the arrangement. Her version of Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon" is another triumph of interpretation.
Lucy closes a marvelous album with a beautiful song, co-written with Richard Litvin, called "The Gift." From the notes supplied, it appears this tale of a man coming to Canada with a trade with little outlet but a voice to "give him wings" refers to her grandfather and later her father. Standing alone it is a gem, but knowing it is biographical it has added poignancy.
This is an album to seek out and enjoy.
22 September 2007