Shelley Morningsong,
Out of the Ashes
(Silver Wave, 2006)

"Sweet Protector," the opening song on Shelley Morningsong's new CD, had me scratching my head. It's an uptempo song that in its first verse speaks of the moonlight flowing from Grandmother's eyes and asks to be "bathed in your silver light." The second verse moves to "never ending ocean tides" where living ancient power abides and claims the salty seas have life breathed into them by moonbeams." The "she" she is singing about, Morningside claims, is the sweet protector. It's all a little too abstract for me.

The second song is more locked in the concrete, asking who will sing for "the ancient souls, little babies, faces of innocence, the elders...." Throughout Morningsong insists we have an obligation and can take positive action if we care. Hers is an album that calls for action -- in nearly every song, she whispers, urging us to do something.

Out of the Ashes is an album that promotes a knowledge of heritage, a remembrance of the ancient secrets of the past, the stories of the elders, while using up-to-the-minute instrumentation; native drums and flutes take a back seat to electric guitars and synthesizers. Morningsong's voice, strong and bluesy, floats over it all, though it seems, to this listener at least, more interested in raising consciousness than entertaining.

Not, as the saying goes, that there's anything wrong with that.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

29 March 2008

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