I love Caroline Herring's voice. Not quite alto and not quite tenor (they do allow ladies to sing tenor, do they not?), it wavers between and, thanks to a natural tremor, is one of the more intriguing voices I've heard. That tremor, in fact, draws me in almost as much as Herring's songwriting which just seems to be getting better with each release. I knew she was a songwriter the first time I heard Lantana (here), Herring's impressive 2008 release. When 2009's Golden Apples of the Sun (here) hit the street, that knowledge was reinforced. I don't know which rock I was hiding under last year when The Little House Songs hit the street but after the many years of trauma of Little Joe's ham-fisted attempts at making the Little House into reality (he failed miserably), maybe I ran from that album on general principles. Well, not really. I just plain missed it and after hearing Camilla, I wish I hadn't because if it even approaches this album, it has to be solid.
I always looked upon Herring as a folkie. I may have been wrong. Camilla is so roots-based and the songs' presentations so natural I may have to reevaluate her entire output to-date. Those roots are mainly Southern but there are moments of modern folk and traditional folk as well, though the way Herring handles them you notice it little. It is more the instrumentation that strikes the ear, the finger-plucked and finger-picked guitars, pedal steel and violin cloaking each song in the instruments' aura of choice.
Songs that jumped off the disc right off are the folk-rockin' Camilla, the gospel-tinged Fireflies, the harmonious and a capella Traveling Shoes and the beautifully stunning White Dress, which is Herring all the way.
Performance: A. Production: A. Songwriting: A. That'll be hard to beat on the next album. Something to look forward to.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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