Word to the Wise has multiple meanings here -- besides being a well-known phrase and the title of this sampler by Emerald Rose, "the wise" is also a reference to those whose beliefs are pagan. A heartful, enthusiastic celebration of modern pagan ways is what you'll find in these songs. So, while this is definitely not a collection for those with fundamentalist views, it surely is well suited to those who hold with the goddess. Indeed, the opening song, "Freya, Shakti" salutes the goddess in her many forms, and it's remarkable to hear an all-male group writing and performing such earnest and resonant invocation and praise of female energy. Thanks, Arthur Hinds, Brian "Logan" Sullivan, Larry Morris, and Clyde Gilbert of Emerald Rose Another rousing and memorable original work is "Merry May Folk," and anyone who's sat through a boring sermon while struggling to stay awake might wish for it also to have been swept into by May revelers, as happens in these lyrics. In it, the minstrels "tilted back their crimson hats and sang for sheer delight." Surely this is the way that Emerald Rose sings this song, and it's a delight to the ears as well: lively, vibrant, and full of zest. Their version of "Lord of the Dance" is, understandably, also pagan, especially when this live recording places it back to back with their original work "Never Underestimate," which is about how a fundamentalist preacher unexpectedly becomes caught up in a pagan gathering after a woman there tells him, "Never underestimate a woman with the Goddess in her eyes." Considering all the religious music that Christianity has brought to the world, Emerald Rose clearly enjoys providing lyrics that offer pagans equal time. "Pagan Girl" takes a look at the author's search for one who "understands the Goddess and rocks my world," with wry glances at all the others he meets first, including: "Annie was a new age mystic/dolphins, angels, crystals, trees/but her idea of wild good time/was channeling from the Pleiades" Luckily, just in time, he finds the lady he's looking for, "standing in the circle/an earthly Goddess waiting just for me...." So, while this music is strongly niche-specific, those who enjoy the pagan side of the Celtic sound will surely take it to heart, as it is skillfully and lovingly performed. Some listeners who are not themselves pagan may also appreciate this work, as it expresses world views of the wise with sincerity and genuineness.
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