A review for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exhange
By Paula Gregorowicz
A combination of clever lyrics and easygoing style characterize this latest collection by singer-songwriter Ilene Weiss. Ilene's acoustic guitar and vocals are enhanced on this recording, as she is performing with PMS. That is, the liner notes explain, Paul Nowinski (acoustic bass), Marc Shulman (electric guitar) and Steve Holley (drums and percussion). The humorous twist on the acronym should give you insight into Ilene's unique way of looking at life.
The opening track, "Make You Disappear," describes the end of a relationship and the power to dispell the power another once had over your life. "Healing Place," featuring Seth Farber on organ, speaks to the universal theme of the journey we often must take to find a place of healing and faith amidst the distractions in life. Ilene asks the listener: "Not getting done though you know what to do? Spirit gum stuck to your walking shoe? Everything is everything that was?"
One of my favorite tracks, "Answer To Come," features Maggie & Suzzy Roche on vocals and a really cool glissando during the chorus. A very catchy hum-along tune, this is a song of living life, of floundering around in the gray because the world isn't black or white--just waiting for some light to shine and bring an answer.
Some people believe true happiness will come while they're "Waiting Around for Love." Ilene captures the desperation of many single people trying to find their mate. Specifically, she portrays a single woman waiting for her Mr. Right/Prince Charming to come and make everything perfect, then a workaholic businessman who consumes pills to numb the uneasiness of his empty life.
A wonderful ballad, "Taking the Long Way Home," is a somewhat melancholy song of a lost love, a lonely search for truth, and the learning of difficult lessons. This song made me contemplative and had me asking myself, do we all take the long way home along life's journey?
"Out of Luck" is a prime example of Ilene's whimsical lyrical style. This salute to Murphy's Law is a great "bop along to" song.
The title track wraps up the CD. Spoken from the point of view of someone lying on the couch half asleep, "Obliviously" muses about the uncertain reality of various scenes in our lives. This ephemeral close to the CD left me in a dreamy state, pondering this collection and reminiscing the times I've seen Ilene perform live.
Each time I listen to this CD I catch a new bit of wit that I missed previously. If you enjoy well-crafted lyrics with a twist, and crisp production that enhances acoustic sound, then you should add Ilene Weiss' Obliviously to your shopping list.
[Edited by Shawn Linderman]
Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.