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Rachel Bissex - In White Light

In White Light

Rachel Bissex

OTP 002004
© 2004

One Take Productions
P.O. Box 3283
Burlington, VT 05401

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwartz@oeb.harvard.edu)

Rachel Bissex is one of the great joys of the contemporary acoustic music scene. She's got a warm, expressive voice that can cover any musical genre you throw at her. She's always interesting to watch as she knows how to work a stage by keeping the audience interested and involved, generously wrapping everyone in her extraordinary joie de vivre - joy of living.

The songs on In White Light were written before Rachel's battle with breast cancer began in March of 2003. The CD cover has her facing the camera full on, with a dark scarf or hat covering her head. Her face and upper body appear in full light, expressing the themes of hope and the ongoing nature of life explored within.

The recording opens with the cover tune, In White Light, beginning with the strains of the violin section of the wonderful Vermont Youth Orchestra. Rachel's voice emerges from this beautiful sound of musical instruments, pouring out the story of the universality of the white light of the moon bathing us all in its glow.

Here Now is vintage Bissex. Its catchy melody and warm, playful vocal draws the listener in. Plus, it's got a life-affirming, upbeat trumpet accompaniment by Rachel's husband, Stephen Goldberg. This tune is all about living in the moment and embracing life with all you've got.

Just Like That is one of the recording's best cuts. It talks about love - the long-term kind. No one knows how to turn a lyric or bring an emotion to the surface like Rachel Bissex. This lovely tune is one of her best.

No More Songs by Phil Ochs receives a stirring, moving treatment in Rachel's inimitable style. Emma Goldberg's violins bring out the exquisite beauty here.

Dancing With My Mother is Rachel's signature song - a tribute to her mother who died in 1985. It was released on a previous recording, but receives new life here, accompanied by the Vermont Youth Orchestra. Its ethereal beauty shines through:
My mother rocks in the bedroom of my childhood, her
Guitar a silhouette against the window where the white
Sheer curtains hang, and the headlights come, first slow,
Then fast around the room, it seems as if they'll never end
And she's singing to me, she's singing about the moon,
And she's singing about lost love

Where are you? Dancing with my mother

In White Light is Rachel Bissex's best effort yet. Filled with beautifully written songs that celebrate all that is good in life - all of the people and the moments we often overlook. Here's wishing and hoping that Rachel continues to make music that touches the heart, the soul and joy in all of us for years to come.

Track List:

  • In White Light
  • Here Now
  • Just Like That
  • Last Blast of Winter
  • Waitin' on the Rain
  • Welcome to the Game
  • A Little Wild
  • Into My Arms
  • Standing in the Dark
  • No More Songs
  • Never Go Back
  • Dancing With My Mother

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2005, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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