Rebecca Folsom – Sanctuary
First, this CD package is impeccable. The layout, images & lyric insert – quite an investment by Colorado’s Rebecca Folsom. It’s a presentation that tweaks the curiosity of browsers unfamiliar with the artist. It’s displayed as a high-end product. Almost the way expensive silver dollars & rare currency are displayed in crystal boxes. Someone cared about the package as much as the music. That shows respect for the work. And you know what? The music is indeed as good as the art.
Ms. Folsom (acoustic guitar) has a gentle storytelling voice. Delicate in the tradition of Mary Chapin-Carpenter (“This Shirt”) & Kathy Mattea (“Where’ve You Been?”). At times she will drift off brilliantly (“Power of Love”) into an angelic Judy Collins tonality. That attraction comes strong on “Mercy,” & onto “Sanctuary.” As near-spiritual as the song is its folky-gospel presentation reeks of optimism/hope & is fortified by musicians & a chorale that delivers the goods. Folsom’s engaging soul-baring will squeeze a quiet tear from the most hardened eye.
The CD is sculpted & produced generously by several Grammy-award winners but 3-time Grammy-winning producer Tom Wasinger (acoustic guitar/Wall bass/percussion) seems to be at the helm. This 13-cut Sanctuary (Drops March 3–Sunshine Productions) is 58 minutes of songs built on sensibility. The polish has a broad scope similar to the lovely female voices by the Sons of the Never Wrong (founded in 1992).
Overall, the production has clarity & musically, it’s a pool deeper than most. Obviously, this is a work not going for the pop country ear but something worthy of awe. Each song is carefully loaded with its message, its transformative instrumentation & Rebecca’s remarkable vocal. I say that because songs like this can get away from an artist. They become preachy, bombastic, over-produced & dramatic. Did I get it all? But none of that apparently is evident here. Each tune has individuality (“Only Kindness”). They are all songs that appeal universally.
This was ambitious. It shows. Many songs are simply impressive (“1,000 Yard Stare”). Highlights – “New Way Home,” “Mercy,” “Sanctuary,” “Through a Mother’s Eyes,” One At a Time,” “Only Kindness,” “My Little Town,” “Walls,” “1,000 Yard Stare” & “Brilliantly, Boldly Alive.”
Musicians – Acoustic guitars: Mark Oblinger, Sally Barris & Dana Cooper/ Electric guitar: Ainjel Emme/ Piano & Keys: Eric Moon, Shaun Martin, Steve Szymanski & Andrea Roberts/ Hammond organ: Park Peters & Andrea Roberts/ Viola: Lauren Spalding/ Violin: Lily Lyons/ Accordion: Eric Moon/ Harmonica: Dana Cooper & Paul Davies/ Upright bass & Electric bass: Erik Thorin & Ainjel Emme/ Drums & Percussion: Christian Teele, Darren Garvey, Elizabeth Goodfellow & Steve Szymanski/ Nyckelharpa: Sandra Wong. Backing vocals & Saul Gates Chorale are too numerous to mention but they shined.
The Sanctuary Extravaganza Live Stream:
Color & B&W image courtesy of Rebecca’s website & FaceBook. CD @ https://www.rebeccafolsom.com/