A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Carla Sciaky's new contemporary folk album has a delicate charm. Topics range from stories of lasting love ("Gladys and Harley") to ponderings about the emotional churnings of our inner world ("Is This Water") . Carla's musicianship is strong and her lyrics poignant and insightful. Her touch is light, never heavy handed. Carla Sciaky isn't going to bowl you over with driving rhythms and hard edged vocals. If Carla was an animal she wouldn't be a lion, she would be a bird.
One of my favorite songs on this album is "The Song That Bird Sings". A sweet and powerful ode to the uniqueness and value of all living things this song proclaims: "...we can shoot it down or put it in a cage/But we can't make the bird/And we can't sing the song that that bird sings."
I especially enjoy the maturity of Sciaky's vision. I found myself genuinely moved by my other favorite song, the title track "Awakening." This song gave me chills. I love the line: "I used to live life in my head, proud of intellect and judgement/But now I turn my trust instead to my heart and my conscience." If you're looking for teen angst on this album you'll only find it with tongue in cheek as in "Awkward Days," a slightly corny but very accurate soliloquy on pre-date anxiety: "Is this the fun part? Oh, god, I hope not..."
The production values on this CD are excellent. The arrangements are varied and interesting from solo guitar to drum ensemble. There are many fine players featured including: Mary Flower, Mark Graham, Harry Grainger, Tim and Mollie O'Brien, Eric Robnett, Claudia Schmidt, Mary Stribling, Pete Sutherland, Pete Wernick, and many more.
Carla is very musical and has a great sense of melody and harmony. My only complaint is that my ear seemed to be searching for an edge somewhere, either vocally or instrumentally. This album is so laid back that it sometimes loses its forward momentum.
In summary, this album is sweet and warm, with cogent poetic impulse. Carla Sciaky is an excellent singer/songwriter and musician who serves well as an ambassador of the folk and acoustic music world. Amidst the cacophony of singer/songwriters vying for our ears Carla Sciaky's music stands out for its ability to communicate both lyrically and musically. We need Sciaky because "we can't sing the song that bird sings."
All songs by Sciaky (except where noted):