Rachel Harrington's new CD, Celilo Falls, has just been released. Having spent a relatively short time as a professional musician, Rachel is certainly making up for lost time and has built up an impressive body of work, with one CD for each of the last four years:
2007: The Bootlegger's Daughter
2008: City of Refuge
2009: In The Woods: Live in The Netherlands
2010: Celilo Falls
Celilo Falls represents something of a new direction. Instead of looking outward and creating songs about other characters, this time the focus is firmly based on personal experiences and feelings.
Stylistically, the genre remains a fusion of Americana, folk, country, blues and Gospel.
The new set of songs feature personal heartaches, break-ups, dissatisfaction, the inevitability of death and loss in general. It's a brave move - but a rewarding one. The songs benefit from the depth and some - if not all - will have a direct resonance with the listener.
My next feature on Rachel will look into the deeper meaning behind some of the songs on Celilo Falls. Meanwhile, here's a quick run through the track list...
1) House of Cards
'Been a long time coming...house of cards, coming down'
2) Here in My Bed
'Somebody else will hold me hand...somebody else will understand'
Touring partner Rod Clements contributes
slide guitar to 'Here in My Bed'
3) Little Pink
'I used to think you were the prettiest little thing...'
4) Goodbye Amsterdam
'Goodbye Amsterdam...goodbye you and me...'
A song about the places one has visited with a friend who is no longer with us, and the bittersweet memories invoked.
5) You'll Do
'You ain't mister right, but you ain't wrong...Darling, you'll do...'
This is the quirkiest song on the CD, with a lighter tone than most.
6) He Started Building My Mansion In Heaven Today
'Feel it in my bones I'll soon be on my way...'
7) You Don't Know
'You don't know if it's man or machine...if you should run or maybe just come clean...'
8) Pretty Saro
'She'll always be crying as she was that poor night...'
Sung a cappella - a very sad song.
9) Bury Me Close
'Love was all that I could give...'
10) Where Are You
'Where are you...? Baby, I don't want to be here...'
'If the whisky did the talking, whisky did the loving too...'
12) Let Me Sleep In Your Arms Tonight
'Where I long to be once more...'
13) The Last Jubilee
'So don't be blue, if you don't wake up today...just pick up your harp and play...'
A spirited send-off, portraying a musical heaven in the company of luminaries such as Elvis and Hank.
With deep, heartfelt lyrics an exemplary musicianship, Celilo Falls is very welcome and worthy addition to Rachel's growing and impressive body of work. I can virtually guarantee that a number of the songs will strike a personal chord with anyone who will sit down and really listen to the lyrics.
My favourite tracks so far are House of Cards, Here in My Bed and Little Pink.
Here's an opportunity to listen to Celilo Falls for yourself, together with a link to ordering details for both the physical CD and digital download versions.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Rachel Harrington here at Marsh Towers.