Long time comin'
Our culture celebrates the young and talented. They are fresh, beautiful and impulsive--everything us old folks aren't.
But after the crashing generally comes the burning. Folks who appeared transcendental at age 25--quick, name the author of Girl, Interrupted--are unable to translate their gifts into something more stable. P.J. O'Rourke wasn't entirely joking when he titled one of his later collections Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut.
Suzanne Jarvie has just released her first album. She's a child of the 60s who nursed a musical interest through four kids and a legal career. When two of her children suffered serious illnesses and injuries, she resurrected her interest in music as a coping mechanism.
The songs on this album delve deeply into the fears and desires that all parents face. We imagine the world for our kids, and when they get even a little sick we can be devastated. Spiral Road is, in part, a reference to an accident Jarvie's then-14-year-old son had falling down a spiral staircase. He went into a long coma before slowly recovering.
But rather than simply writing an autobiography, Jarvie takes her journey and turns it into a beautiful, universal work of art. While her voice might have been brighter or slightly more supple 20 years ago, there's no way a younger Jarvie could have approached the brilliance of this album.
Her voice is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris, though her Canadian accent bleeds through in a most endearing manner. Hugh Christopher Brown produced, and he created a sprawling roots orchestra sound to support Jarvie's voice.
All of the pieces fall together wonderfully. From a strictly musical standpoint, this is one of the loveliest albums I've heard in quite a while. Add in Jarvie's obvious talent with lyrics, and the effect is multiplied. Any success is more than richly deserved.
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