Sunday, January 13, 2013

George Donaldson's "The White Rose" CD Review

George Donaldson, original member of Celtic Thunder, released his premiere debut album to fan clamouring in the Summer of 2011. The White Rose, a marvelous collection of both covers and original songs, is an album that will especially delight lovers of folk music. George has been performing in pubs across the world for decades of years, and that experience translates into a presentation of strongly written and performed music.

Full of both passion and tenderness, George's voice, thick with a Scottish accent, is pleasant to the ear and makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. For harmony and counterpoint, Erin Boyle has been invited to sing on the album, and she is a perfect compliment to the deepness that comes from the main artist. The songs on the album are full of story and historical significance, a perfect folk album.

The Great

-- The album's title song, The White Rose, is definitely one of its strongest. An original penned by George, it tells the story of Sophie Scholl who was part of the resistance movement to the Nazis in WWII Germany. The song itself is driving, exciting, and inspires feelings of both courage and horror of the realities of that history. Definitely one you'll want to listen to often!

-- Beeswing is the first cover you'll hear on the album and it's fantastic. It has a really nice tempo to it with some beautiful music. As with most of the songs on the album, this one tells a great story -- this time of a man who pursues a woman who will not be tied down. Erin Boyle is a great contrast to George.  Really well done.

--  Rounding out the album are a duo of really beautiful tunes. Grace is a definite favorite, full of history, tenderness, tragedy, and patriotism. It's beautifully sung and performed. Coming right on its heels, the original Let the Tears Flow is a tender entreaty, an invitation to be true to your story, hurts and all, and the power of cleansing. It's one that brings tears often.

The Good

-- The first song on the album is A Song for Harry Chapin. It comes in two parts-- the first is full of a pleasant mellow sound and details George's introduction to Chapin and the resulting musical impact on George's evolution as a singer and songwriter. The second part slides into a faster, more driving tempo and tells the story of Chapin's life and eventual tragic death. It runs a little long but it's a great song written by George about one of his music heroes.

-- Another original, starting with some great pipes, is Halifaxtown. Featuring some nice harmonies with Erin, it's a passionate folk tune about Scots who emigrated to Halifax to escape English persecution.  

The Skippable

-- Hierarchy Blues is a very fast-paced track and the music is pretty cool on it, but I just don't love the song. I think that, perhaps, there is less for me to "connect" to in it, and so it just doesn't speak to me as much.

If You Can Only Afford 3 Tracks

  1. The White Rose
  2. Beeswing
  3. Grace

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