Pennyblackmusic Presents: Johny Brown (Band of Holy Joy) - With Hector Gannet and Andy Thompson @The Water Rats, London, Saturday 25, May, 2024

Headlining are Johny Brown (Band of Holy Joy) With support from Hector Gannet And Andy Thompson
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Annie Capps - How Can I Say This?

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 20 / 3 / 2023



Annie Capps - How Can I Say This?
Label: Yellow Room Music
Format: CD

intro

Annie Capps follows her eight studio albums with her partner Rod with her first ‘solo’ album, lyrically tracing her journey from the problems of a young girl to learning to let go of hurt and grief

Chelsea, Michigan based Annie Capps has released eight studio albums with her partner in life and music, Rod Capps, but this is her first ‘solo’ album without her husband. Not that Annie is short of help on these dozen songs; there are a number of musicians and producers involved. What is unusual is that ‘How Can I Say This?’ is an all-women project. In her notes Annie writes that although ‘the album was written, performed, mixed and mastered entirely by women the songs are for anyone who “ever felt misunderstood, misled, used, abused, shame, regret, grief, and through it all, the power of forgiveness and healing.” That’s just about all of us then. While ‘How Can I Say This?’ is one of those albums where the lyrics play the most important part, the music and arrangements Annie has set her thought-provoking words to can’t be ignored. Every musician brings something to enhance her lyrics; the playing is just superb. And so are the vocals; the amassed voices on ‘Crowded’ (by The Crowded Chorus of course) are stunning. Annie’s lead vocals are also special; while she is often classed as a folk singer there is so much more in her tone and phrasing which makes the listener take notice of every word she sings ; obviously an advantage when Annie is digging deep into her soul to relate these feelings to us. Annie’s remark about the songs being for anyone rings even more true as the album unfolds. The lyrics are so very important on this album that I’d advise anyone even slightly interested in what will no doubt become one of 2023’s most played albums for those exposed to it to check out the lyrics to the whole album on www.anniecapps.com , your time will not be wasted. It’s difficult to describe this album without quoting the lyrics to almost every track or to quote some lines which Annie wrote to describe the songs on the above site: “…they represent a love letter to my younger self. And maybe yours too?” You don’t have to be female to connect with Annie’s lyrics. You’ll recognize all the emotions Annie expresses with her words in more than just a handful of the songs. ‘How Can I Say This?’ is an exceptional set of melodic songs; after forty minutes the only inclination is to play the whole album through once more. The album opens with ‘My Eden’, weeping strings setting just the right backdrop for the first of taste of how powerful Annie’s lyrics are, “Back on the corner of sin and sacrament/Little girls in plaid skirts on their spent, begging for forgiveness/Not one was innocent, ‘cause there was an apple and there was a serpent” really make you listen especially when Annie has such a warm delivery and the melody of the song is captivating. Her telling of how guilt is forced on girls at an early age by a church through the concept of original sin is chilling. From there the album takes us on a journey of a life from those early days through all the emotions, trails and pain that we all have to experience until finally the light shines through again on the closing song, ‘Yesterday’. The second track, ‘Learning’, touches on the next problem of growing after ‘My Eden’. “Oh, I learned to be a devil when the angel wasn’t looking/I learned there were secrets you don’t tell/I learned that folks like me are going straight to hell …why do some boys hear yes when you say no then look at you with eyes that say we get what we deserve/Learning sometimes hurts.”. Powerful, powerful words that will connect with so many. It seems Annie is unafraid to speak out for those unable to, for whatever reason. Remembering her mother’s words at the close of the song is really affecting, learning to rise above the pain, “I learned about forgiveness from someone who had it worse/I was taught that learning sometimes hurts.” . And for those who maybe feel that they won’t relate to Annie’s words because they are from a female perspective and only females were involved in this project then I can only say that the penultimate track, ‘Only Sometimes’, a tale of home and feelings of being alive just before spring, resonated with me like few songs have. “…There’s no more neon lights to faint the stars/I swear the moon’s a million times bigger out here/ It’s where I untangle every knot I’m tied up in and the rest of the world disappears’ … ‘(so don’t) and if you ask me if I ever miss the city/(I will) and I tell you that I only sometimes do/I still sometimes do.” The closing song, ‘Yesterday’ sums up the feeling the listener gets after the album finishes, “Yesterday my inner songbird sang out for the first time in ages/All the doors flew open on her tortured little cages.” Again, that voice, those lyrics and the music all contribute to make ‘How Can I Say This?’ an album to cherish. In many ways it’s an album of poetry set to music. Head over to https://www.anniecapps.com/listen-lyrics/ and listen while checking out the lyrics to the songs. ‘My Father’s House’ for just one example. I apologise for quoting so many of Annie’s lyrics in what should be a review of the album but ‘How Can I Say This?’ is like nothing else around at the moment.



Track Listing:-
1 My Eden
2 Learning
3 Two Different Things
4 How Can I Say This
5 The Punch
6 My Father's House
7 Dirty Little Secret
8 The Silent
9 Riverbound
10 Crowded
11 Only Sometimes
12 Yesterday


Band Links:-
https://www.anniecapps.com/
https://www.facebook.com/anniecapps/
https://twitter.com/anniecapps


Label Links:-
http://www.doghouseroses.org/
https://www.facebook.com/doghouseroses
https://twitter.com/doghouseroses
https://www.facebook.com/pntasker
https://twitter.com/pntasker


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