Saturday, 24 November 2007

CD Review - Pura Fe'

Hold The Rain
Dixie Frog

By M.D. Spenser

The album begins the beat of the human heart, or at least a solitary drum that sounds for all the world like it. On top of the heartbeat a chorus builds, Soweto-like. Then the voice of Pura Fe’ keens high over the chorus, wordless, emotional, and you know this album is going to be something different.

It is challenging – and rewarding in a way that only that which challenges us can be. Pura Fe’ is an American Indian, and an artist courageous enough to tread her own path.

She wrote, in whole or in part, 10 of the 13 tracks. They defy genres: folk, blues and hints of jazz combine to make pure Pura Fe’. Suffice it to say that the songs rely heavily on Fe’s acoustic lap-slide guitar – and on her voice, a beautiful and mellow instrument.

She is backed by a fine coterie of musicians. These songs are not instant toe-tappers – they are richer fare than that – but with repeated play they reveal themselves and grow on the listener. They deal with desire ('If I Was Your Guitar'), love ('Follow Your Heart’s Desire'), and even child abuse ('Little Girl Dreaming').

And the covers? Gorgeous. They include a moving five-minute-plus version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Summertime.” A duet with Eric Bibb on his song “People You Love” is just a gem, to die for.

One quibble – on a couple of occasions, Fe’s voice, normally full and expressive, rises to a screech. Following your own path is fine, but so’s a little discipline, whether from a producer or your wiser self.

This album is rich and challenging, one that will stay with you far longer than instantly accessible toe-tappers ever will. The songs work their way inside you until, at last, they become one with the beating of your heart.

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