Carol Noonan

The Water Is Wide

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The Water Is Wide, singer/songwriter Carol Noonan's collaboration with pianist Dana Cunningham (and, on several tracks, cellist Max Dyer), is a modest effort musically, but it has an ambitious goal. Available upon release through Noonan's Web site, (and through the toll-free phone number 866-CAROLCD), the disc was presented as a fundraising project to support Noonan's proposed arts center, to be built in her backyard in Brownfield, ME. As such, she was charging 50 dollars for it, a hefty price for 37 minutes' worth of music, so potential buyers had to consider that they were actually making more of a contribution than a purchase. Leaving aside financial matters, the short album is an effective mixture of the two artists' talents. Cunningham is a lyrical, if deliberate pianist whose style is well suited to supporting Noonan's haunting vocals, whether she is singing the traditional title song, covering Sting ("Fields of Gold"), or introducing an original. There is a distinct melancholy feel that Noonan fans will not be surprised to encounter, notably in "Just Because" (previously heard on the Noonan album Self Titled), a reflection on aging, and "Without a Trace," an account of teenage kidnapping that is all the more creepy for the spare, becalmed tone in which it is performed. Cunningham's two instrumentals, "Welcome to the World/Ava Grace" and "Leap of Faith," fit in well with the pastoral atmosphere, as does Noonan's own instrumental, "Stone Mountain Lament." Especially because of the circumstances under which the recording is offered, The Water Is Wide is intended for established Noonan fans, who will find it a pleasing, if minor addition to her discography.

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