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.

"Amelia" is an outstanding song that strips away all the gloss to present us with a sad but somehow reaffirming view of life.

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.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

22 September 2007

what's new