All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Audra Connolly - Dear Friend

Audra Connolly - Dear Friend
2009, Hole Heart Records

Boise, Idaho’s Audra Connolly grew up in a household where the arts and nature mixed in wondrous ways. Read through Connolly’s stream of consciousness biography and you begin to get the picture of a sophisticated mind that still enjoys the simple things in life. Connolly writes music straight from the heart, with an authorial voice that’s more like an old friend pouring her heart out. Her voice is in kind, full of the richness and texture of emotion and her personality. Connolly’s voice rings true on her debut album, Dear Friend.

The songs on Dear Friend are very well written, with a wonderfully deep level of communication going on. If Connolly misses at all on Dear Friend, it’s where her songs get so deeply personal that the only real audience is the person the song was written for. Every song here is carefully crafted and full of Connolly’s heart, full of lyrically complex prose laden with imagery. Dear Friend kicks off with “Eternal Youth”, a delightful rocker about self-determination. There’s a happy, carefree vibe to the song that’s unmistakable. You’ll fall quickly for Connolly’s voice and style, and “Eternal Youth” is the perfect opener. “Blue Eyes” and “Friendship” have something of an easy going air, but Connolly’s heart bulls through on “Givin’ It All Away”. Connolly’s declaration of love in song in what appears to be a complicated situations; this is not your typical syrupy love song, but a deeply nuanced and mature love at love in the true light of day.

“Loudly Rings” is a thing of beauty, immersed deeply in Audra Connolly’s perceptions. Connolly finds magic on “Diversions”, an exploration of romantic diversions (presumably) in her life. The song is a series of vignettes about people who might have been wonderful for her but didn’t work out for one reason or another. Over the course of the song you get the picture of someone who perhaps enjoys the chase more than the catch. “Thinking Of You” is a regretful number where Connolly ruminates on falling for someone and the complications it will bring. Connolly doesn’t want to fall in love because of the complications it will bring to her life, but can’t get a certain someone out of her mind. You’ll think she’s losing the battle, but she probably lost it before she even wrote the song. “Meet You There” is highly emotional, detailing the deep love for a friend who’s become much more. This is the most highly personal song on the album, written in the language Connolly speaks with the person she’s most herself with. Connolly closes with “Love Unconditional”, an epilogue for all the songs that came before that is both more “typical” of a love song and yet somehow the only fitting conclusion to the process documented here.

Dear Friend is an album about falling in love with your best friend. It is deeply personal, self-focused and self-aware without sounding self-centered. Connolly displays a deep, intense personality woven through songs of intricate emotion and imagery, as if Dear Friend is a musical diary and Connolly has invited us all to get to know her heart. Dear Friend is a gift for the taking. You’ll be charmed by her personal delivery and intricate detail in telling the story of how a heart that perhaps feared love fell into it unwittingly, fought it and lost. In the end Connolly won, and with Dear Friend, so will you.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Audra Connolly at or Dear Friend is available as either a CD or Download through Digital copies are also available from iTunes.

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