Magazine for the recording musician

November, 1996. Adrienne Kirkey

Equipment: None listed

It’s unusual when I find myself liking a song that has no chorus. Well now... Here’s a song that almost cries out to not have a chorus. It’s a well told story about some children who have been sexually abused by their next door neighbor who lures the kids with a Ouija Board, which also happens to be the name of the song.

The way this story is written makes the listener feel he or she is hearing the story told by a childhood friend who is sleeping over and the lights are all turned out. The imagery is exceptionally strong, “After he freed us, sobbing to the woodpile we went. To pray to the spirits of Ouija, by candlelight under a blanket tent.”

The song seems to be mostly about how the kids survived their experience. No surprise here, the CD it comes from is entitled, ‘Colors of Survival,’ and the focus of all the songs seems to be the common thread of people dealing with surviving life’s larger traumas. I’ve listened to several of the songs and, while they’re not the kind that hit records are made of, even a lout like myself can appreciate that these are stories that should indeed be told somewhere other than the evening news and by a more gentle storyteller. Adrienne is perfect for the job.

While the rhythmic phrasing gets a little labored at the end of the verse, it just doesn’t matter because the picture is so clearly described. It’s like a Spielberg movie: you feel like you’re part of it. That’s great writing, chorus or not. Adrienne’s voice is clear and sweet, not unlike Joan Baez, who is also a great storyteller in her own right.

The album was recorded by her husband David and Mark Schiffelbein in their home studio, and they’ve done a fine job. The recording is just as honest as the musical content. The recording style is very natural and unaffected. For those listening on Playback, take each instrument at a time and you’ll notice how each has a quality that makes it seem almost touchable. Each instrument can be clearly isolated, yet they all fit together very well in the mix.

Listen to the acoustic guitar on the right side (preferably in headphones). It sounds like you’re sitting right next to the sound hole. Check out Adrienne’s voice -- right there with ya babe. It sounds like some of that richness comes from the room itself. It’s not that often that I can actually “hear” a room on tapes that come in from readers, but in this case, I can. Must be the Q-tips -- they’re working!

Michael Laskow

Summary: Gave me goosebumps. Very nice job.

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