Daisy DeBolt,
Just Mountain Songs
(self-produced, 2000)

Just Mountain Songs/b> is made up of two parts; the first four songs were recorded live at Habourfront, while the last five were recorded live at the Performing Arts Lodge (both in Toronto). The two halves have very different sounds, but the mountains are the heart of this CD.

Daisy DeBolt (vocals, mandolin) was backed by Larry Stanley (keyboards, vocals), Bob Derkach (accordion, vocals) and Rod Booth (violin) for the recordings from Harbourfront. She was backed by Bob Derkach (piano, accordion), George Koller (bass) and Phil Dwyer (saxes, flute) for the recordings at the Performing Arts Lodge.

The music of "Skeena River of Mists" drifts in like the mist. The breadth in the vocals can be a touch rough at times, but at others it is breathtaking. The rough edges take to the fore in "Mandolin Gal," hard-driven music, harsh sung-spoken lyrics. The harshness continues in "Luna Grand View Ranch," giving the song a wild beauty. The accordion opens up "Mountain Folk," and shapes the music under Daisy's vocals. The various parts of "B.C. Mountain Suite" slide one into the other, as stories slide over music. The music turns to jazz in "1965." The story turns slightly absurd in "1975" as she meets a wolf in the mountains.

The memories take a darker, more intimate turn in "1986," the next image comes in sharp contrast, with the energetic "1994" and her voice soars. Things are brought to a close in "1996" and the simple story, loaded with dark imagery and darker humour. At times it is the hardest song to listen to, but it continues and the emotional content of the song amazes.

Daisy DeBolt provides two very different performances and experiences on Just Mountain Songs. The first set of songs give you a feel for what the music will be like. The second set of songs are likely autobiographical. The CD can take a few spins to fully appreciate, and the rough edges won't be to everyone's liking.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 6 November 2004

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