CD review by Chris Spencer
TN1879-83 – $25
TN155 Apr 23
While not recognised primarily as a folk singer, Karen Lynne has a large body of work and has achieved a bevy of awards, mainly from the country music industry.
This album is her 10th, if you count two albums she shared with her brother, Pat Drummond.
While her bio states her music encompasses folk, I find that her work is predominately bluegrass and country, with religious and gospel references, which are more pronounced on this album.
For example, these titles indicate the focus of the album: “Little Mountain Church House”, “Your Presence is my Favourite Gift”, “Where Jesus Is”, “A Living Prayer”, “He Loves to Hear You Shout” and “Lord Lift Me Up”.
In her liner notes accompanying the album, Karen states “[The album] is a celebration of my faith and a chance to share it with you”.
The album is well produced, Lynne’s vocals are clear and upfront, the arrangements supportive and the playing understated.
Interestingly, Lynne chose to record the album in the United States, so all the players are unknown to me; produced by Jerry Salley and engineered by Rebekah Long.
Readers might recognise the names of two guest vocalists – Stella Parton on “Coat of Many Colours” and Daryl Mosley on “Where Jesus Is”.
Parton is the sister of Dolly Parton, who wrote and first recorded “Coat of Many Colours”, while Mosley is an American country singer whose signature song, “He Saw It All”, was recorded by the southern gospel trio, Booth Brothers.
Lynne is not a prolific songwriter; she is only credited with co-writing one song on the album, “Christmas Star” with Richard Porteous.
Two songs were written by Dixie Hall and Tom T. Hall, the latter is the only songwriter that I recognise on the whole album.
The album kicks off with “Little Mountain Church House”, the opening has Lynne’s voice multi tracked without any musical backing – a nice touch.
The banjo and fiddle join in for the 2nd stanza, with the mandolin taking the solo.
The pace slows down for the ballad “Your Presence is my Favourite Gift”.
For me, it was refreshing to recognise the song “Coat of Many Colours”, it’s done well here.
The arrangement is similar to the original, underpinned by the banjo.
“Will There Be Any Stars” is given the full country treatment including the pedal steel embellishment.
“I Will See You Again” covers the loss of loved ones.
The feature of “Walk Slow” is the backing ‘choir’ during the chorus’.
“A Living Prayer” is stripped right back to just vocals and guitar for most of the song.
In contrast, the gospel inspired “He Loves to Hear You Shout” is a full on bluegrass number with call and response during the chorus.
The waltz “In Your Garden” provides a pause in the proceedings, as does “Christmas Star”, another waltz towards the end of the CD.
“Will I Be Good Enough” is a mother’s concern to her new born child – the fiddle is predominantly used here.
“Lord Lift Me Up” is another gospel inspired song, while the rousing “Send The Angels Down” finishes the album.
As I indicated early in this review, this is not what I’d describe as a folk album, but there is plenty to enjoy.
I think most readers would find plenty to like.