Raised on folk music in a house of musicians, I often wonder what my life would be like without that background. Peter, Paul, and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas and the Papas, and the Moody Blues are among those I can recall from my early days. All put an emphasis on storytelling, melody, and harmony.
Through high school, college, and beyond, I have found other artists who emphasize the same qualities. Singer/songwriters like Shawn Colvin, David Wilcox, the Indigo Girls, Paula Cole, Sarah McLachlan, Michael Hedges, and Brandi Carlile have been added to my CD collection over the years, and I continue to find more and more artists with folk, Americana, or even Bluegrass influences. Finding a new artist adds yet more fuel to the fire for the soundtrack in my head.
So let me now add Edie Carey to the list. Her soulful voice and storytelling style instantly made me think of Shawn Colvin, so she fits right in. She’s been performing on stages in the US & Canada and as far away as the UK since 1998. How I’ve managed to miss her previous six albums in the last 12 years is beyond me, but I’m not missing her seventh – Bring the Sea.
Beyond the fact that Bring the Sea features Edie’s amazingly expressive voice, the album also has a few other voices and performances you might recognize. Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket), multi-instrumentalist Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls), and violinist Eyvind Kang (Bill Frisell, Laurie Anderson). The album, produced by Evan Brubaker, was funded entirely by her fans, which is an incredible feat. But since they already knew her, they probably just knew they wanted to hear more of Edie’s music.
Edie’s songs seem to be about her relationships and experiences. Love and loss echo through all our lives and she has a gift like all great storytellers.
My favorite is “On & On” with it’s light guitar picking, about a baby and wishes all parents and good souls have for youngsters… And for some reason, she had to let the baby go. “I know you’re not really mine; you were my child; you were my baby; you were mine for a time… No, I’m not crying ; Now you’re flying, flying…” Most of us have been touched by a child at some time in our lives, whether our own or not. And it reminds us that life goes on and on.
“Waiting” is another favorite, featuring backing vocals from Glen Phillips. Singing of the love we spend our lives looking for – “but I still believe, and you’re my answer why; my heart was tired, a faded paper valentine; now my heart’s a child, racing crazy every time.” We’re all waiting. Accompanied by Jonathan Kingham on piano and Eyvind Kang on viola, the layers tugged at my emotions and that longing.
The album ends “With You Now” reminds me of my own relationship with my wife – a passionate, spontaneous woman. I’m the reasonable, calm one here. And yet the relationship works. “You, the quiet one – let’s talk until we’re done – when the red sun goes black…” and “You brought the mountains, I’ll bring the sea” – but “I am with you now…” Accompanied again by Kang on viola, there’s just enough strings, guitar and piano to keep the melody rising and falling like waves.
Edie will be another one for me to watch in the years to come, and I may have to find a few of her previous albums. Be sure to check out Bring the Sea and take a look at Edie’s website for tour dates and other info!