A review of Evalyn Parry’s new CD

Nathaniel Christopher Arthur [Peterborough, Ont.] Volume 38 Issue 24

Did hear you the news about Joni Mitchell and Ember Swift? A little while ago they were both riding their bikes full speed in opposite directions through a particularly left-wing area of Toronto. Unfortunately they did not see each other and it resulted in a head-on collision– it was a bit of a mess but the two singers merged into one and produced the gloriously uplifting, inspirational and pleasant recording artist known as Evalyn Parry. Yeah, she’s really good.

I have a feeling that her song “After the Revolution” will become another protest anthem.

In her album Unreasonable Evalyn Parry sails seamlessly through eleven songs. Some are funny, others are serious, but all of them are ever so interesting – it’s very easy to get hooked on this album.
The cover of her album has a picture of her on a bicycle – it’s obvious that she is on the go, in fact, you could say that she has successfully put the “lets go” back into lesbian folk singer.

It is hard to slot all of her music into one category–it’s really eclectic but I guess it would all fall under the “millennium folk” umbrella. Some of her tunes sound like traditional folk music while others have a rare, unconventional sound to them–one song has a somewhat “western” sound to it, another song has a passionately tense Sarah MacLachlanish rhythm and others sound like show tunes (Evalyn has a fantastic show voice). Unreasonable is a veritable smorgasbord of Evalyn’s musical ability.

I was quickly drawn into this recording upon first hearing it–the lyrics and melody of the first song “Canada Dreams of California” are a haunting tune laden with refreshing, unheard poetry that attempts to describe why we can’t always have what we love. Listening to this track reminds me of my travails through the western deserts–enchanting.

“The Walking Song” is the least pleasant but most realistic track on this album. It’s all about procrastination, desire, and distractions. As our heroine walks down a street Baskin Robbins, and bakeries, are calling her by name. It’s so refreshing to hear a successful recording artists reveal her vulnerable side by describing her walk down a street and her desire for Baskin Robbins ice cream or a pastry.

“After the Revolution” is a happy, up-tempo reflection on revolution where protest is a happy and fun social event. This is the first song that I’ve heard that is about revolution and protest – not the message but the very act of protest. This is the happiest, most optimistic track on the album.
The final track, “Bucket of Time,” is a slow, sombre melody that would not be out of place at a summer night campfire.

“Always” is a sassy, light-hearted tune about maxi-pads… from the perspective of one. “So lay me down in your panties” I’ll protect you from ‘the auntie’ when she comes to visit again, and she does: yes she comes to town like the houseguest from hell…” This song is so funny that it could be a stand up routine.

Not all of the songs are humorous or light-hearted; “Ecuador” was written for Evalyn’s aunt and uncle who were murdered in Ecuador. It’s a heart wrenching tune about her reaction to some terrible events.
Parry doesn’t inundate us with stale rhetoric. She has salted and peppered her album with catchy memorable little quotes.

I guess the one message I got from this whole album is “Enjoy the journey- therein lies life.” That journey may take you through California, a street with distracting storefronts, or maybe it’s some internal journey.

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, who has been blogging here for nearly 25 years. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings on my own online platform. From 1998 until 2017, I worked as a journalist, and I have posted most of my articles in the 'News' section of this website.