(22 January 2000) The latest album from American singer
songwriter and painter Laura Powers is entitled Beyond The Pale -
Legends of the Goddess II (Red Harp Records (USA) 6 87474 01672,
2000). It is the followup to the artist's stunning debut Legends
of the Goddess (Punch Records (USA) PEG 008, 1997). The debut
includes the original version of "Samhain Madrigal" which was covered
by The Vards as the title track of their album A Time Of Change
(review). Powers shares writing
credits on the new album once again with Chris Pelcer as well as
others including John Tirro, Dwight Liles, David Lloyd, Sharon
Cort, Bob Halligan and Dennis Bryon. Further information and
soundbites are available at the artist's
It is easy to understand why Laura Powers is regularly
compared to prominent New Age artists such as Loreena McKennitt and Enya.
Powers' vocals are sweeter and more evocative than either. Celtic
themes are at the heart of Laura Powers' music yet she incorporates
pop, new age and alternative styles within it. Celtic and Irish
instrumentation such as fiddle, mandolin, Irish flute and Uilleann
pipes can be heard throughout both of her albums. The theme of her
current project revolves aroung the Celtic mythology of The Goddess.
The trilogy begins in her first two albums. Here Celtic themes
and mythology are seamlessly woven into the style and grace of Laura
Powers' songwriting and vocal technique. Those that listen to Aeone's
(review) music will find distinct and
purely coincidental stylistic resemblences.
Beyond The Pale is comprised of eleven tracks evocatively
sung over lush Celtic orchestration. Laura Powers voice gently soars
well above the music evoking an overall gentle feeling. Ballads
dominate the album and Powers' vocals are mixed way up, well above
the instrumentation where you can hear every word of the well-enunciated
lyrics. Vocalise adds texture to the instrumentals which effectively
combine modern sounds with the traditional. The title track is certainly
very accessible with its lovely and highly memorable chorus. An album
for female vocal enthusiasts it is full of vocal harmonies and
"This has been a work in progress for some time," says
Powers, who adds that, when she conceived the project, "I was thinking
partially in terms of the kind of music that I'd like to paint to, because
when I paint I'm on a different level of awareness, and I wanted
songs that would help take me—and the listener—to that level."
Tracks are sung in English with the exception of the
lovely "Heart In Winter" which alternates with French lyrics while
blending themes from Pachelbel's Canon. "Goddess of the Sea Mist,"
"Sisters of the Wind" and "In the Arms of the Mily Way" reintroduce
the mythical goddess and allo us to soar alongside them in their
The evocative "Pipes of Inishmore" and "Sailing Home"
conclude the album. The blend of natural sounds, traditional Celtic
instrumentals and Laura's stunning lead vocals works extremely well and
typifies the artist's work. The concluding instrumental passages
of the final track are full of lovely vocalise and themes from the
tracks preceding are effectively joined to produce a musical summary.
She said, "People phave told me that this music
takes them to a special place and creates a mood that is uplifting and
peaceful. Since my intention was to take the listener on a musical
journey to another time and place, it's very satisfying to get that
positive feedback." We completely agree. The album is accompanied
by original artwork and complete lyrics. Laura Powers' Beyond the
Pale—like the debut of the trilogy—is stunning. Worth a journey,
we believe that it is a must listen!