Catherine Ellis,
Time Again
(self-produced, 2000)

Some songs feel as if they were -- or should be -- played outside in the fresh and open air. Time Again by Catherine Ellis is a collection of such music. The songs are gentle and drift to you.

The music is wonderful. It is acoustic folk music at its best, and the musicians make what they do seem easy. They are Bud Michael (bass and harmony vocals), Carol Levack (harmony vocals), Joel Mabus (guitar and mandolin), Pooh Stevenson (cello and mandolin), Ron McKeever (guitar), Alma Muxlow (harmony vocals and mandolin), Tim Scheerhorn (Scheerhorn resonator guitar), Mary Gurd (piano) and Robert McCloy (classical guitar). Catherine Ellis' voice adds a layer of strength to the songs and she also plays the guitar on almost every song.

"Doris & Marshall" tells of an old couple and the life they lived together. Then comes a love song, "Mackinac Island Song," which oddly still manages to work even when the vocals overpower the instruments. "Time Again" is a love song sung from afar. "Bye Bye Blues" is a delightful bluegrass piece, especially when it goes instrumental.

"Last Night" is a touching song of what was and what might be, drifting in gently from the night. "Love is No Currency" also drifts tenderly, a goodbye and a thank you. The mood continues in "Daylight," which is a lovely toast to times shared with a loved one.

"Magic" is a song that comes from the moment between the end and the beginning. It is a strangely touching song that I can't quite explain. From there you go to the aftermath of a painful break-up in "I Lost My Watch." The mood switches again for the powerful instrumental "Time Stood Still," which carries the feeling you might expect if time really did stand still.

"This Melody of Love" is a good song once you get used to it, the strength and boldness of the music being in sharp contrast with the soft tones of most of the other songs. I find the melody of "The Next Time" hard to get used to; for that matter I don't like the lyrics either, I find them almost cloy. It is followed up by another love song, "I Knew Paris," which flows and uses simple imagery.

A traditional Catholic prayer is used in "Angel of God." The CD closes with "Walk with Your Heart," a song from someone who is learning to walk again.

Overall, Time Again is a lovely CD full of music that has a taste of the outdoors. It is the music of summer. Enjoy!

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 15 September 2001