PRESS :: REVIEWS :: INTERVIEWS
INTERVIEW: CBC Tapestry episode "Art & Soul" (2011)
INTERVIEW: Songwriter 2 Songwriter, w/ Jon Brooks (2010)
"... let her gorgeous voice wash over you..." Sing Out! magazine
"... the performances cut to the bone..."
Bill Garrett, Borealis Records
"... full of heart and soul."
Mark Michaelis, Acoustic Harmony
"... a lovely voice... more powerful for being devoid of affectation." Guelph Mercury
For quotes from David Francey,
Ian Tamblyn, and Jon Brooks please see the
“What Sings in the Blood”, Rosemary Phelan’s third CD release in as many years, is an inspiring and reassuring collection of modern roots songs: a healing offering of love for a wounded world.
Many of the songs have a contemplative, prayer-like quality, as they reflect on universal themes of life and death, richness and poverty, war and peace, and of course, love. Though a melancholy current is present at times, a message of joy ultimately prevails, as it does in “Red Dress” (“hang up your blue dress, let down your hair / step out and just take a chance / beauty’s unfurling itself everywhere / put on your red dress and dance”).
In this intimate and personal recording... (read more)
"... No sooner had [Rosemary Phelan] recorded the impressive What Sings in the Blood when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As a result she will not be performing at her CD launch Oct 27 at Hugh’s Room. In her absence some of Canada’s most accomplished singer/songwriters have agreed to participate in what has become a benefit concert.
This poignant back story should not distract from the artistic merits of What Sings in the Blood.
Phelan has a lovely voice, full of feeling and emotion more powerful for being devoid of affectation. Her songwriting brings us back to a time when folk was neither a dirty word nor an embarrassing form of music...
Sarah Greene, NOW Magazine NNN
Rosemary Phelan has a soothing, pure voice from a different era. Produced by Phelan and long-time collaborator Jason LaPrade, her fourth album features consistently good playing by an impressive cast that includes banjo player Chris Coole (Foggy Hogtown Boys), bassist Murray Foster (Great Big Sea) and drummer Adam Warner.
Phelan’s lyrics range from the conversational to the spiritual. David Francey sings on a number of the songs, and gently political folk-rocker Three Wishes, with harmonies by Ian Tamblyn and Jon Brooks, is beautiful. Recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Phelan is unable to play her scheduled CD release show, so a number of friends, led by Brooks, will launch it for her at a benefit concert.
top track: Three Wishes - Album rating: NNN
Bob Chelmick, THE ROAD HOME
"I have been enjoying, even marveling at, What Sings in the Blood. It is perfect material for The Road Home program. The music is simple and simply lovely, the lyrics exquisite. The production wonderfully uncluttered, clean. The musicianship beautifully refined. Thank you for seeing this through.
And now Rosemary's story. Her personal dance of life lately, in the context of this jewel of an album, is utterly compelling. I wish I could be in Toronto for what will certainly be an extraordinary CD release party next week.
I will be programming Rosemary's offerings enthusiastically, Johan, and expect to return to them often.
Thanks again and please pass on my best wishes and gratitude to Rosemary. She has a sudden big fan at CKUA. May she release a dozen more gems like this.
FOLK ROOTS, FOLK BRANCHES
"If I’m not mistaken, Toronto-based singer-songwriter and community nurse Rosemary Phelan had already finished recording What Sings in the Blood, a lovely set of haunting songs, and was already scheduled to launch the album this Wednesday (October 27) with a concert at Hugh’s Room in Toronto before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July.
With her cancer battle, some of these songs – no doubt influenced by her years as a community nurse – seem almost prophetic as she poetically wrestles with human mortality. “Oh you never do know if tomorrow will come,” she sings in “Redwing,” the first song on the album and “Red sky at night, gold light at dawn/Will still burn bright when we are gone,” she sings in “We Never Cry.” In “Overwhelmed,” Rosemary seems to be reflecting on the ongoing struggle between life and death... (read more)
What Sings in the Blood might be a call to arms for the inner soul. It is a major breakthrough for this artist with strong content, perfectly paced, with many nuggets embedded deep within its songs. Like a timed-release capsule, when taken aurally it will provide a depth of understanding of both the simple miracles of every day life, and a vision for change in the collective hearts of the world community.
Jason LaPrade produced and recorded this album at his Crystal Clear Sound studio in Toronto. He played on Oliver Schroer’s final epic CD, “Hymns & Hers” and is quickly making a name for himself both as a dobro player for session work in Toronto's vibrant music community as well as an independent record producer. Interpreting Phelan's most diverse and complex work as a songwriter to date... (read more)
Roger Wise, RESTLESS MORNINGS
.. I must say that rarely am I so impressed with a CD at first listen. ... this truly is a joy; it's like love at first sight. If you truly believe it, then you are afraid to revisit it, although you must return... makes me wish for a broken heart and an end to war and a return to optimism."
Chuck Hall, HALLFOLK HOUSE CONCERTS
... I was immediately taken with the beauty and simplicity of [Rosemary's] songs. They reminded me in a way of the music of David Francey, in their simplicity and grace... I gave her songs the close listen they deserve... Please allow me to introduce you to March's feature on FOLKSTREAM: The Hallfolk Music Stream - ROSEMARY PHELAN.
Steve Clarke, ACOUSTIC PLANET
"With the release of Avalanche Lily, Toronto-based singer songwriter Rosemary Phelan has created a beacon in what can often be a wasteland of acoustic music.
Each song in the collection provides a personal, clear-eyed view of life's vistas. There is the realization of the depth of love in Silver Threads, the inspiration of nature captured in The Nesting Bird... a soldier's overwhelming sense of duty in the sorrowful The Ballad of Tom Stone... Not to mention my personal favourite from the album, Lay Your Burden Down, an anthem to hope and helping if there ever was one.
Phelan has supplemented her gorgeous voice with some of Toronto's finest musicians...