Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
First impressions really can't be trusted...a slow-moving wonder
on 3 May 2011
When I first bought this, I was a little disappointed, though I shouldn't have been: the cover art perfectly anticipated the content. I found it practically comatose in its elegiac stateliness; I didn't know any of the backstory, the hymn to Canadian songwriting. I resisted what I heard then as showing a lack of vigour; I wanted more country; I wanted more joy.
But now I blame my initial reaction on being at slightly the wrong age. Some seven years on, I finally get it. Now, I understand it is the apex of a great singer's work: a woman at the height of her craft, diving into deceptively simple, deceptively slow moving rivers of songs, moving through them with that appearance of ease that is the mark of a master of tone and control. Her renditions of these songs, very few of which were known to me, evokes bleak, wide open spaces, long buried emotions, that may be intended to be uniquely Canadian but which, at their best, are bigger even than that. This music calls up a state of mind for which I think some languages have special words.
So, I think you have to be in the right place in your life (or perhaps the wrong?) to like this. I'm so glad I bought it before single track downloading became normal: had I scanned individual tracks I'd never have bought it, and as a result would have missed stand-out tracks like the monumentally building "Helpless" with its repetitive crescendo of emotion; and, being a country fan, the dirge-like tonal simplicity of "One Day I Will Walk". I remain indifferent to one or two tracks, and I prefer live recordings I've heard of her "Hallelujah", but this is nit picking: it's a masterfully delivered gift of love and sadness.