Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Occasionally, the back story of an artist can appear to be infinitely more interesting than the product itself and Deborah Rose may just suffer from this with her new album The Shining Pathway. This back story includes the patronage of Mary Gauthier, touring with Jimmy Webb and Judy Collins, having an MA in songwriting, recording a song at the home of Eva Cassidy’s parents in Maryland and performing before a Presidential candidate in New Hampshire, not to mention channelling the spirit of Joni Mitchell and “Nash and Stills” – not sure where Crosby and Young were at the time – at the very place where all the folkies used to hang out in the late Sixties. Then there’s the bit about writing songs in the presence of the Queen (the actual Queen, not Joni). This isn’t to say that any of this is the fault of Deborah Rose, but perhaps not having any of this knowledge would have led to a more sympathetic review.
Nevertheless, there’s a good voice at work here and a sensitive song writer seemingly holding her own. Hailing from Newport (Wales) and now residing in Shropshire, the exhaustive travelling throughout the US has certainly left its mark on Deborah’s musical sensibilities. The album is quite sweet in places, almost otherworldly, certainly on “Bluebeard”, an enchanting tale of the women/wolves variety and also on the dreamy “Butterfly”. If “Basket of Roses” pays homage to the aforementioned Joni Mitchell, evoking the spirit of her most personal album to date, then the album closer “Shallow Waters” is perhaps Deborah’s most personal song on this album, summed up in a quote from the opening verse “chasing the wrong kind of dreams”. Well, perhaps not.
Choice Track: Willow in the Canyon (NSV 493)