Debra Cowan’s previous recordings have been quite traditional, with the focus almost exclusively on her voice conveying the lyrics. She’s always chosen songs carefully, and listeners have been rewarded for paying attention, even to some pretty obscure songs and songwriters.
This new Cd has some very traditional-sounding songs, but some cuts are decidedly not traditional. She’s enlisted drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull) as contributor, arranger and producer, and most of the cuts on the CD take on a much more contemporary flavor from her earlier work. I’m not a big fan of more produced, contemporary folk, and especially not a fan of drumsets in folk music, but I must admit that even on the cuts where the drumset is quite prominent, this CD is quite appealing.
And what a range of styles! From the ethereal “Salisbury Plain” to the traditional/bluesy sound of the Richard Thompson song “Jealous Words,” to the distinctively weird Klezmer/Honky-tonky with a bit of Kurt Weil “Alcohol, ” by Ray Davies, this CD is quite a ride. Hang on!