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Rachel Van Slyke - So I Begin

So I Begin

Rachel Van Slyke

TSR Records - TCD 1239

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwart@bowdoin.edu)

Rachel Van Slyke is a twenty-four year old singer/songwriter from a small town in upstate New York, now plying her trade in California and across the nation. She immediately impresses with her soft yet edgy vocals, and beautifully written lyrics. But Judy Collins she's not. That bit of grit in her voice takes her from pop, to contemporary folk, to alternative rock. Not easily pegged, but easy to listen to, So I Begin is her first release.

The recording opens with Movin' On, which is so good it should go straight to radio. Van Slyke is quite accomplished on guitar and knows how to surround herself with the right players, particularly Amy Wood on drums and John Would on electric guitar.

Never Me definitely rocks with captivating lyrics and layered vocals. The following lines could be prophetic as far as Van Slyke's future is concerned:

I'm on it inside it
I don't need any of it
Movin' up
I want it
I got a new style

In Between features strong vocals, Eric Summer on a plaintive viola, and wonderfully shifting melodies. Won't Be Back showcases Van Slyke's vocals and the tight playing of her band. I love the chorus: "freeing my hands /believing you might land /but I won't be back again."

Rachel Van Slyke may be only twenty-four, but she shows talent and maturity way beyond her young years. If So I Begin is any indication of what is in store, we are in for some beautiful music for many years to come. I'd tell Avril Lavigne to watch her back—Rachel Van Slyke has arrived!

Track List:

  • Movin' On
  • Never Me
  • Into Me
  • In Between
  • Let You Go
  • Won't Be Back
  • Open End
  • Weightless
  • The One
  • Carry
  • Push It In Line
  • So I Begin
  • You Think You Know
  • Worlds Apart
All songs written by Rachel Van Slyke.

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

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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