Carrie Elkin – Call It My Garden

January 01, 1970

(Red House)


At first glance, Carrie Elkin appears to be a study in
contradiction. Originally a gymnast, she studied science at school and eventually
became a chemist… all prior to turning her attention to singing. Likewise, on
the cover of this, her sophomore set, she poses with her head turned away,
wearing an antique dress and clutching a large bouquet of dried flowers,
offering an image that provides the impression she’s some mysterious, aloof
chanteuse. It’s only after peering inside the gatefold that we see her as she
really is – unguarded and grinning genially in obvious amusement.


Notably then, the album itself begins and ends with a
chuckle. Its first song, “Jesse Likes Birds,” plays off the age-old standard
“Mockingbird” and turns it into a plucking, down home ramble. Yet, every song
that follows finds her abandoning that initial enthusiasm and drifting into
mellower terrain, be it the surreptitious serenade “Lift Up The Anchor,” the
sparse circumspect of “Iowa,” or the forlorn musings of “Landeth By Sea” and
“Shots Rang Out,” a song that sounds particularly chilling in light of the
recent events in Arizona.


Despite the solitude of these hushed musings, Elkin still
manages to make quite an impression, and her performances bear notice. A select
team of collaborators – Danny Schmidt, Colin Brooks and Sam Baker, among them –
gives Elkin the breathing room she needs while providing the necessary
cushioning that bolsters the spare arrangements. Ultimately, Call It My Garden proves most striking
in its contrasts, even while still seductive in its intents. 


Likes Birds,” “Iowa,”


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