Enjoy Music Critic Review of "Buddha State of Mind"

Dear Fans -- thanks for your support and enjoy recent review of "Buddha" by veteran freelance music critic Dan MacIntosh:

"Paula Boggs is an old school folksinger. That’s a compliment because she’s not just a singer and acoustic guitar strummer, which is sometimes wrongly the lazy definition of a folksinger. Granted, there is a lot of acoustic instrumentation supplying the musical beds for these 12 songs. However, Boggs has an issue-oriented mind, and one that makes the most of these serious, or at least seriously smart, songs.

Perhaps the two inclusions that stand out most upon first listen are Boggs’ two cover songs. One is “Blue,” originally by Joni Mitchell. At times, Boggs’ voice sounds a little like latter day Mitchell. Boggs’ singing has a tough gal tone to it, which Mitchell only accomplished after numerous cigarettes. Boggs’ cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” is even more intriguing. When Plant, Page and gang initiated the tune, it was a strange cross between heavy metal and old time rock and roll. However, with Boggs’ take, the song is stripped down to the same old time rock and roll this song’s lyric originally saluted. Boggs’ singing is fun and playful, as she gives it just a touch of Maria Muldaur vocal spicing. It’s quite a revelation, and quite good.

The most touching song on the album is called “Someone Else.” It’s a confessional folk song, like the variety that was so popular during the singer/songwriter boom in the ‘70s. The lyric features Boggs pouring out her raw emotions. She’s faced with the shocking fact that her man has fallen in love with another woman. Boggs practically bleeds this one out. It may be a therapeutic exercise, but there’s no guarantee she feels any better after singing it.

There are also a few of musically innovative tracks on this disc, as well. “Lenny’s House” is driven by Jeff Fielder’s plucky banjo playing. Its lyric speaks of a hipster musician everybody is proud to be around. “Miss Ruby Kirby Blues” also features a memorable instrumental backing. It’s a blues song, as its title obviously gives away. However, John Stiemert’s piano solo really lifts this recording high above being just a typical blues workout. “A Finer Thread” is delightful primarily for its Mamas & the Papas-esque backing vocal section. If you’ve listened to any Mamas & the Papas music at all, this track will give you a nostalgic rush. This album’s prettiest song is the ballad “Toll the Bell.” Instead of a standard folk music backing, producer Matt Brown surrounds Boggs with strings. These stringed accompaniments are provided by Jami Sieber on cello and Chris Kovalchick on violin. Brown also chimes in with bell effects.

A music critic was recently bemoaning the fact that in our age of Occupy Wall Street, there sure aren’t a lot of great protest songs. The turbulent ‘60s, on the other hand, were famous for the amazing socially active song craft that came out of the era. Why aren’t we hearing the same quality musical commentary? This lack of music to match our challenging times is precisely why we need artists like Paula Boggs. Boggs has the voice and a skill of Tracy Chapman (By the way, where has SHE been?), and just may be the musical artist to fill this conspicuous void. Let’s hope so, at least.

Review By: Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 5)"

ABOUT DAN MACINTOSH: Dan MacIntosh has worked as a a professional music journalist for 26 years.His work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, Country Standard Time and Spin.com.

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