Caroline Herring - Golden Apples Of The Sun
2009, Signature Sounds
Caroline Herring has built a strong reputation as a songwriter and storyteller. Her most recent album, Lantana was named one of the "Top Ten Best Folk Albums" of 2008 by National Public Radio, and she has been lauded by publications and critics both large and small. Herring returns on October 27, 2009 with her fourth album, Golden Apples Of The Sun. A mix of originals and covers, Herring performs primarily with just her guitar and voice, recorded live in studio by David "Goody" Goodrich. With comparisons to artists such as Kate Wolf and Joan Baez, Herring has managed to find a touchstone aspect to her sound and style while remaining wholly herself.
Herring opens with a song that's as much an aural painting than anything else. Tales Of The Islander paints a picture of time and place that's palpable. Herring reminds us that occasionally a time and place we've been will burn its way into our consciousness; the world drops away and nothing else matters for a short time. Herring takes on Cyndi Lauper's True Colors and ends up sounding like she's trying to rush through the song. The tempo is rushed and the rendering is very grave for a song that's full of hope and love. Herring's cover of Long Black Veil is more on-target Herring's voice has a Rosanne Cash meets RJ Cowdery and Joni Mitchell quality that works well with her gentle arrangements.
See See Rider finds Herring sticking with the spirit of the original while morphing it into a gentle folk song with Country accents. This is the best vocal performance on the disc. Perhaps the best song on the disc is the cover of Joni Mitchell’s Cactus Tree, the story of a woman so intent on being free that she winds up empty and alone. The song is compelling and well-told. Herring has an Indigo Girls feel on A Little Bit Of Mercy, exploring the necessities of forgiveness and forgetfulness in love. Herring adapts a poem from William B. Yeats on Song Of The Wandering Aengus. My favorite song on the disc is up next: The Great Unknown. A song of soul searching, The Great Unknown doesn't challenge beliefs, but seems to ask what happens if we invest all of our energy into a belief and it turns out to be wrong. Herring's last number, The Wild Rose could be either a love song or a prayer. I'm leaning toward the latter but it's never explicitly clear. The melody is among the loveliest on the disc, and the song is played with pure heart.
Caroline Herring has a warm and earthy presence that just oozes off of Golden Apples Of The Sun. Her songwriting is top notch and her vocal performances are warm and right and draw the listener out of his/her shell. Golden Apples Of The Sun is definitely worth spending some time on; Caroline Herring has another solid effort on her hands!
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Caroline Herring at http://www.carolineherring.com/ or www.myspace.com/carolineherring. You can buy a copy of Golden Apples Of The Sun as either a CD or download from Amazon.com.