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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Maria Dunn

Piece by Piece

Review by Gary Hill

There is some great music here. It’s obvious, too, that the lyrics present some great stories. This is the kind of music that fits well along the lines of folk and Celtic. Yet there is much more here, too. It’s rich and deep, while still being subtle and understated. There’s a simplicity here, but it’s also fairly complex if one looks hard enough. And, through it all, Dunn’s vocals are really the star of the show here. This is a great set and makes me want to dig in and check out more music from Maria Dunn. She seems extremely talented. It’s intriguing that Dunn is billed as a storyteller in song. It’s almost like the vocals come into play as just a means of telling a story. Well, her voice is so strong that it seems a poor label. Of course, her stories are also poignant, so who knows? Either way, check this thing out. It’s high quality.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Cannot Tell You

Gentle old world sounds open this up and the vocals are the real driving force here. That said, the music is by no means a slouch. It’s just rather understated, but still quite intricate and pretty. Dunn’s vocals, though, are so evocative and powerful that it overshadows the music completely. The musical motifs later in the track, though, are particularly powerful and yet still mellow. The rhythmic element to the track is quite developed, too.

Speed Up
The percussive elements from the previous tune are heard on the opening here. This is a more purely rhythmic tune in one way. On the other hand, layers of vocals bring a different sound to the table, too.
Blue Lung

An acoustic based ballad, this is quite pretty. It is one of the mellowest pieces here. It’s also quite evocative and poignant.

Assunta's Song

Another balladic tune, there is definitely a Celtic vibe to this. It’s Dunn’s vocals again that really make it work as well as it does. She’s great.

Shareholders' Reel

With a title that includes the word “Reel” one would expect a faster paced tune and we get that. One would also expect a Celtic tune. This is that, too. It’s also quite good.

Immigrant Dreams

This one is mellower and quite pretty.

Lullaby
Here’s another that’s well revealed by the title. It’s a song to a small child. The music is mellow and quite pretty.
Farewell
The closing number brings us back to the type of sounds that opened the set. The thing is, some Sitar lends a real Indian sound to the proceedings. This is another strong tune on a disc that’s full of strong tunes.
 
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