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Album Review

DANIELLE WOODROW
Turning

Talk about falling into a good thing, and in more ways than one! Danielle Woodrow had been working in (now, where the hell did I put that bio sheet?)--- Aha! Here it is. She had been working in TV, actually, at FX. A good job. Decent pay, though I would bet the hours were long and the appreciation not what one would like all the time. But she had a job. One day, she woke up and decided this wasn't what she needed right then and quit. Flat out walked out the door. She had this nagging which had to do with music and set off on a journey to figure out what to do with it.

What did she do? Wrote songs. Honed her performance skills on guitar and voice. Put together an album. Oh, it didn't start out to be an album, though that was the long-range goal. It started out to be bits and pieces of a dream--- a lot of piddling around and writing notes on napkins and that sort of thing. Writing began to become an occupation, though, and she found herself picking up the guitar more and more until one day she decided that the best way to save her songs was on tape (okay, maybe not tape, but forgive me. I am a dinosaur). She was in Washington State at the time and had this friend who had a studio in an old barn and she asked if she could get him to help her with some demos. Nothing flashy. Very basic. Musician and guitar. “So I wouldn't forget the music,” she said.

And here is where the falling comes in. She has this reel/disk full of songs and doesn't really know what to do but she gets this thing in her head that maybe she could pick songs and record an album--- except they were already recorded (just not that well, or so she said). After listening closer, she may have thought that they could be salvaged, that they could form a cohesive work. (I'm guessing here. She doesn't really say) Here is what she did say in her bio:

While the recording process was organic, finishing the album was a unique challenge since the demos were not initially intended for release. Woodrow worked with a Los Angeles based mixer on weekends while simultaneously re-entering the work force.

Which means that she got another job is all. Meanwhile, the songs started to take shape. A few instruments were added here and there, and a voice or two. Not much and just for effect. And in the end, she had Turning.

Here's the thing. If she had gone back into a studio and re-recorded this collection of songs, they would not have had the impact they do. They might have been better recorded or more plush or maybe more professional sounding, but they would not have been better. No. What came out the other end is something many musicians wish they could pull off--- a collection of folk songs worthy of early Modern Folk. I mean most of this album could have been recorded on a stage set for Hullabaloo, the guitar capturing that basic essence of what folk was before people like Dylan came along and updated it to folk-rock, the voice as it was recorded without the bells and whistles we have come to know (and that some, not necessarily myself, have come to love). Auto-Tune? This is as anti-Auto-Tune as you can get. This is the way it used to be done in the days of Joe & Eddie and Phil Ochs and very early Judy Collins. This is plain cool.

Woodrow is back working amongst the media elite again. She says she's staying with music from here on out but I've heard it before. Sometimes life has a way of taking over. I hope that isn't the way here. This is a start in the right direction. That next album, Ms. Woodrow? Keep it basic and simple like this one. There are still a few of us out here who love this kind of music. And it ain't easy to find anymore.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

Supporting the Indies Since 1969