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Review: HARVEST OF LIFE (1 Viewer)

Jack Keck

Second Unit
Nov 23, 2001

I should begin by saying that I volunteer as a box office person at a small theater in Livonia, MI called the Trinity House Theater. It is in an old church on Six Mile Rd. just west of I-275. (www.trinityhouse.org.) If one digs out the trusty shoehorn, maybe 100 people might fit in it, if they all agree not to breathe. Come early and check out the old graveyard surrounding the theater. It started out as a place where a local church put on plays and has evolved into a great place for concerts. The audience can get up close and personal with the performers. The artist under review here, Lisa Pappas, was opening for a singer/songwriter/ guitarist named Brooks Williams on March 21, 2003. She is based in Kalamazoo, MI.

As most of the artists do, she had CD’s for sale in the lobby. So I was able to get an autographed copy. The music combines elements of various folk, bluegrass, and blues influences and is entirely acoustic. The use of congas and doumbek along with the guitar, dobro, and concertina give the CD a unique, gently rocking sound that I could listen to for days. The instrumentals are very competent, but subtle, allowing the lyrics to shine, which they do on about twelve of the songs on this CD. In fact, a big problem in writing this review is that there is no single element of it that grabbed me. I fell in love with the whole thing.

The CD opens with an upbeat song called “Moving Out of Neutral”, which is about pursuing one’s dreams. This mood is repeated elsewhere in “Travel the World”, “Harvest of Life”, and ”Loving Myself Since Leaving You”. The latter expresses a sentiment vaguely reminiscent of the disco hit, “I Will Survive”, but states the point much better and with a sense of humor.

“Your Place Now” seems like a sad song at first listen, but really is not so sad. It’s about moving into a new place for a new opportunity.

Love songs are rarely grab my attention. I normally find them to be too melodramatic. The love songs here, “Tell Me What You Want”, “These Three Words”, “Tell Me”, and “Love is Making Me Crazy” are different. All of them had me sympathizing with the “protagonist”. This has NEVER happened to me before. “Love is Making Me Crazy” is an especially poignant chronology of a love that does not last.

Being a Captain Beefheart freak, I love word plays. “Two More Tullamore” fits in with the best Beefheart tradition. It is about a couple in a bar drinking Tullamore Dew, a brand of Irish whiskey. Ms. Pappas describes it as caustic in her notes in the CD insert, but I did not find it so. It did inspire me to get a bottle of the whiskey. The song is great. The whiskey ain’t bad, either.

The CD ends with a wistful, haunting song about an ideal place that the singer's friend goes to escape the pressures of life called "Moonfaery Hollow". It is a perfect way to end this beautiful collection of music.

Anyway, you can now see why I am not a professional music reviewer. But any of you reading this have to get this CD. You're gonna love it. You can get it a www.lisapappas.com.

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