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Carrie Elkin - Call It My Garden (Red House Records)

Star rating: 
3

In this follow up to 2007's THE JEOPARDY OF CIRCUMSTANCE, Carrie Elkin makes her debut on Red House Records and once again showcases her remarkably strong voice, a voice so strong that this reviewer has witnessed the singer-songwriter turn away from her audience so as not to blow them over! CALL IT MY GARDEN comprises ten Elkin originals and the one cover, Dar Williams' Iowa, each song recorded in Sam Baker's living room, kitchen and office by the production team of Colin Brooks, Danny Schmidt and Mark Addison.

Anyone who's been fortunate enough to spend any length of time in the presence of Carrie Elkin will immediately recognise that inimitable chuckle at the beginning of this album. Her personality is furthermore revealed in the subsequent songs, from Jessie Likes Birds, with its uplifting theme based on the traditional Mocking Bird, together with its pretty convincing instrumental bluegrass coda, indicating as in most bluegrass tunes that someone's having fun, through to The Edge of the World, pretty much a live in the studio swirling fairground ride of a song, complete with a vocal that suggests the song couldn't possibly be sung without that infectious smile, a smile we don't actually see but know instinctively that it's there.

In other places, Carrie sings out her demons in Guilty Hands, once again reminding us of her background in church singing, whilst Landeth By Sea sees Carrie Elkin pour her heart out, accompanied by partner Danny Schmidt. That same soulful voice is also very much in evidence in the almost anthemic Berlin

Besides Danny Schmidt, himself an extraordinary singer-songwriter in his own right whom this record is dedicated to, Carrie invites a whole bunch of familiar collaborators such as Sam Baker, for whom Dear Sam was written, touring partner Robby Hecht, Storyhill's Johnny Hermanson and Raina Rose, each contributing additional voices, along with Band of Heathens' Colin Brooks on various guitars, Andrew Pressman on upright bass, David Moss on cello, Trevor Smith on banjo, mandolin and guitar and Dony Wynn on drums. CALL IT MY GARDEN once again reveals a voice that in a perfect world should be heard by more. Many more.
 
Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky