Sunday, June 1, 2014

Til The Morning - Lullabies and Songs of Comfort: A CD Review

CHICAGO/SALT LAKE CITY -- Award-winning singer/songwriters, friends, and fellow travelers on the path of motherhood -- Edie Carey of Chicago and Sarah Sample of Salt Lake City -- weave their distinctive and yet perfectly blended voices to create an intimate, harmony laden collection'Til The Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort, set for release on June 10. (Groundloop Records, $15.00, for all ages, run time 49 minutes.)

In 2010, after releasing her third album and having her second child,Sarah Sample realized that most of her music-making at home involved singing to her children.  It felt only natural that her next record should embrace the lullabies that were at the core of her motherhood experience.  At this time, her friend Edie Carey was in the throes of a two-year struggle with infertiity following a near-fatal experience while on tour.  Sarah soon became one of Edie's main sources of support, and their friendship deepened.

Edie welcomed a son in 2012 (thanks to winning a $16K IVF cycle at a raffle!), and soon the two friends began hatching plans to make Sarah's lullaby idea come true.  They wanted to not only honor the quiet moments between parent and child, but also to pay tribute to the struggles of infertility, recognizing the circuitous and painful journey many people must travel to become parents. 'Til The Morning carries a message of love, comfort, and solace for any listener.  Edie Carey and Sarah Sample will make a charitable donation to support the ongoing work of Resolve, a non-profit organization working to educate and support men and women who are struggling with infertility.

'Til the Morning opens with a cover of the Dixie Chicks' "Lullaby," which sets lyrics of maternal love and devotion in a texture of cascading vocal and instrumental lines and features guest performer Mai Bloomfield (of Raining Jane and Jason Mraz) contributing the golden sound of her cello and ethereal harmonies.  An exquisite treatment of Wilco's "California Stars" follows, bringing out the elegance of its mesmerizing harmonic progression.  Other highlights include the beloved perennial, "Turn Around," "Slumber My Darling" (where listeners are treated to a hauntingly beautiful combination of vocal harmonies floating over the rich sound of a string trio), Paul Jacobsen's tender "I'm On Your Side," the familiar hymn "Softly and Tenderly" (with lyrics modified to reference "Mama" and "children"), Townes Van Zandt's treasured song "If I Needed You," the folk classic, "All The Pretty Little Horses," and "La La Lu," the famous lullaby sung by Peggy Lee in Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp.

Sarah Sample wrote the intimate ballad "North Star" for her daughter, and the lyrics reflect Sarah's sense that the pure love she felt for her children her children was a guiding compass in her life.  "Sweet, Sweet Dreams," written by Sarah Sample with Stephanie Mabey, offers a message of comfort to a fearful older child.  On the other side of the coin,Edie Carey's infant son's innocence and total absence of worry served as inspiration for Edie's "Your Own Stars."  The Edie Carey original, "These Things," was rehearsed, arranged, and captured in a live take with Mai Bloomfield on cello in the final hour in the Utah studio before Mai had to fly home to L.A.   Bloomfield contributes to the beauty of this song that celebrates the joy of having children after a long wait.  A splendid a cappella rendition of "Now The Day Is Over" brings the album to a quiet conclusion.

According to Salt Lake City Weekly, "Sarah Sample's raw, graceful voice ... enhances lyrical content that cuts to the bone." Singer/songwriter Peter Mayer enthused, "And boy can she sing ... just a great, great voice."  Three albums, an EP, and years of touring into her career, Sarah Sample proves she's no trend-chasing flash in the pan.  Listening to her songs, one hears true commitment to a high quality body of work.  Sarah has played the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest mainstage, sung on the Cayamo Cruise, won first place in the AYL Singer/Songwriter Awards, and was a finalist at Kerrville and Telluride.  She has shared the stage with Darrell Scott, Steve Martin, Over The Rhine, Melissa Ferrick, Willy Porter, Peter Himmelman, and more.

Paste Magazine wrote, "Edie Carey is gifted with one of those voices that could sound great singing anything.  Vulnerable and pleasing, Carey draws us into her world, where we find we have a lot in common."  Edie Carey is known for her unmistakable soulful voice and intelligent, heart-grabbing songs, but perhaps most especially for her warm, engaging presence on -- and off -- stage. As much a part of her show as the music itself, Edie's wry and often self-mocking humor makes audiences feel they have just spent an evening with a very close friend.  Edie has been performing across the US, Canada, and the UK since 1999.  Her seventh album, Bring the Sea (2010), as well as her previous two records, was funded entirely by her loyal and steadily growing legion of fans.


EDIE CAREY & SARAH SAMPLE IN PERFORMANCE
Highlights - Summer 2014


June 18              Rockwood Music Hall, NYC

June 20              Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

July 9                 SPACE, Evanston, IL

July 18               Post Theater/U. of Utah campus, Salt Lake City, UT

July 19               House Concert, Seattle, WA

August 15 - 17   Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Lyons, CO


My Review:

This is the first I have heard the music collaboration of Edie Carey and Sarah Sample, and oh my goodness, it was a stunning introduction to this dynamic duo.

From the very first track, a cover of the Dixie Chicks Lullaby, you are drawn in by the duo's hauntingly soft voices, and the emotion you find yourself having as you listen to each track is unbelievable. The songs are so soothing, and their voices will lull your child in no time at all. I have even found myself playing the music for my own quiet times as I needed to relax before bed. One of my favorite hymns is found on the CD, although modified to leave out the Lord's name, and they do a remarkable job of it. Another favorite lullaby of mine, All The Pretty Little Horses, is also on this CD, and once again Carey and Sample do a phenomonal job making this song their own. They have a calmness in their voice, a very melodic tone that is so soothing, perfect for this type of project. Other favorite tracks for our family included Slumber My Darling, La La Lu, Now The Day Is Over and I'm On Your Side.

A stunning CD that would be a perfect new baby or baby shower gift for any family.

I highly recommend this CD and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: Til The Morning will be available at www.ediecarey.com,www.sarahsample.com, amazon.com, CDBaby.com, iTunes, Bandcamp, and other related digital outlets.  'Til The Morning releases June 10, 2014

***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Waldmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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