The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119089   Message #2694526
Posted By: Flair
06-Aug-09 - 02:01 AM
Thread Name: New CD: 'Paris' by Sharyn Dimmick
Subject: Review: Sharyn Dimmick, Paris
Paris by Sharyn Dimmick
Sharyn Dimmick may not be a household name among folkies outside California and the Pacific Northwest, but no serious discussion of the Bay Area folk music scene can be had without her name cropping up as one of the better singers of traditional music and song, most especially the classic ballads found on both sides of the Atlantic. She is at her very best when doing these fine story-songs. Her ballad knowledge is quite extensive to say the least. If one word can be used to accurately describe her debut CD, it is eclectic, featuring as it does a variety of musical styles and traditions, ranging from traditional ballads to hymns; and from the American Civil War to old-timey and such modern musical icons as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Richard Thompson, among others. Three of the cuts on this recording are Dimmick originals, including Paris, the title track, Morning Shanty, composed after an all-night music gathering, and a beautiful piece entitled Wallflower Waltz. Personal favorites include the well-known Barbara Allen from the Child Collection, Vandy Vandy, A Civil War courting ballad with definite supernatural overtones, Stephen Foster's Hard Times, Come Again No More, and the Hallelujah Trilogy (including Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic, sandwiched in between Thompson's We Sing Hallelujah and Cohen's Hallelujah). One song that deserves special mention is the somber and powerful Shelly Posen piece on the sad state of the Newfoundland cod fishing industry, entitled No More Fish, No Fisherman. Ms. Dimmick is most ably assisted on this recording by some of the Bay Area's best musicians, including Larry Hanks on guitar, Art Peterson on banjo, Carol Denny on contina, and Kerry Parker on fiddle; along with back-up chorus and harmony singing by Sady Damascus, Ed Silberman, and Mary O-Brien, among others. Ms. Dimmick knows how to get inside a song and make it her very own: sensitive and gentle, yet with power and poetic imagery that grabs the listener and holds their attention. Whether it is an elegant hymn such as Bringing in the Sheaves, a biting commentary on urban growth and encroachment like Big Yellow Taxi, or a song of love and youthful recollection such as When You and I Were Young, Maggie, this is a recording that sings to the best aspects of music and the telling of memorable stories. My only quibble, a minor one at that, is more in the nature of personal preference and musical whim. As a ballad buff and a lover of classic ballads from The Child Collection, I would have wished for more of these great story-songs, which are Ms. Dimmick's musical stock and trade. Oh well, perhaps there will be a sequel somewhere down the road and this will be rectified. Overall, this Sharyn Dimmick effort is more than worthy and creditable; it definitely comes very highly recommended: no brag, just fact   

                                       -Robert Rodriguez

For CD availability, contact Sharyn Dimmick at