Wendy Rule / Gary Stadler

Deep Within a Faerie Forest

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Sure, any album title that includes the word faƫrie (especially as a modifier for the word forest) is cause for alarm. And yes, multi-instrumentalist Gary Stadler has worked previously in a project called Fairy HeartMagic, and singer Wendy Rule has a similar affection for the word Magic, which she tends to capitalize (though, mercifully, she doesn't generally end it with a k). All of these things are more than enough to give a rational music-lover serious pause. But the music on this album really is quite attractive; at times it's just a bit simplistic, but straightforward beauty is always better than overblown bathos, and that's what you get on such lovely Celtic-inspired tracks as "Invocation," "Uyll," and "Lus y Vaaish." Rule has a fine voice, though the tight vibrato she employs on an otherwise lovely setting of W. B. Yeats' "Lake Isle of Innisfree" is a bit distracting, as are the pitch problems on "L'Pavane." But in general, the combination of her clear, sweet voice and Stadler's bass and keyboard playing is very pleasant, and the guest appearances by harper Lisa Lynne and percussionist Joshua Levin are also very enjoyable. Recommended.

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