Mary Knickle,
(Sea Fire, 2006)

The Canadian Maritimes have always given us a variety of good music, oftentimes a nice blend of Celtic and traditional folk. One example is the music of Mary Knickle, whose CD Weave contains 12 original songs that are mostly stories from the sea.

If you're looking for drunken sea shanties, you won't find them here. What you will find is a nice collection of traditional-sounding storytelling songs. The stories are the typical ones of hope, loss and traveling.

Weave opens with "Weave the Yarn," a wedding song with a pleasant and lively Celtic melody. "Fire in My Heels" is a maritime poem called "A Wanderers Song" by John Mansfield set to music. "Tears of a Woman" looks at women past, present and future waiting for their men to come home from the sea. "Bride Ship" takes a historical look at ships that sailed to Nova Scotia with single English women looking for mates, and gives us a little insight into their related hardships.

"Tarry," an a cappella song with some nice harmonies, is another poem set to music, this time written from the perspective of a woman begging her husband not to go to sea after she has a dream in which he is lost. "Rise Up Tall" is a beautiful song about empowerment looking at various stages of a person's life. "The Grail," with its Celtic melody, looks at the Celts and King Arthur and is a good example of Mary's storytelling abilities. The CD closes with "Wild Irish Man" and another rousing Celtic melody.

Weave is a strong collection of songs that contains many pleasing melodies. Combined with thoughtful storytelling, it gives us a good insight into several aspects of maritime life. Add to that a nice voice and a good group of supporting musicians, making this an enjoyable CD.

by Dave Townsend
23 December 2006

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