Ferron's percussive/acoustic pain takes folk and traditional sounds on "Bellybowl," the only tune produced by her on this set, and brings them to Marianne Faithfull's plateau without the heavy thunder of Faithfull's rock band. It's a dizzying array of styles and instrumentation that puts the songwriter in a class by herself. The nine other titles on this ten-song set were cleanly produced by Will MacCalder, starting with the bright and bouncy "Almost Kissed," giving the listener the impressions that folk-inspired independent pop/rock artists like Matt Turk and Garrin Benfield would bring to the world decades after Ferron's emergence and regardless of the markets they would be playing to. "Rosalee" is cloaked in country nuances far removed from Nashville. This Canadian export moves quickly from balladeer to Dylanesque preacher on "Our Purpose Here," though in much less caustic form than the '60s icon when she puts forth "It's a woman's dream/This autonomy." The accompaniment is very laid-back, allowing Ferron her chance to keep her words and music front and center. The album boasts an array of light instrumentation from cello, violin, and tambourine to saxophone and clarinet, but everything is kept tightly in its place. The piano augments "Who Loses," as do the tasteful backing vocals, while the singer's voice embraces each song differently. There's so much variety from track to track that Testimony serves as a textbook of expression, a solo artist's Music from Big Pink, with the passion of that classic album by the Band without its heavy atmosphere. The title track's strength comes from Ferron's ability to blend Janis Ian's folksy singing with Roberta Flack's commercial slant. It's a tremendous song with a stirring string arrangement that haunts. This music may have been confined to the gay and women's music markets, but it is as expansive as k.d. lang and worthy of reaching the masses. Would k.d. lang have had the opportunity if this work, Testimony, had not existed? There are some very excellent moments here worthy of contemporary airplay or rediscovery via cover versions by other artists. ~ Joe Viglione
95837MFerron - Testimony (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/82/61/628740826126.jpg?v=718.9917.09USDDiscontinuedFair N LovinCDFolk-MusicFerron2008-09-18
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