Carol LaDuke’s EP Dragonfly presents listeners with a defiantly unique, country-rock fusion collection that showcases her characterful vocal delivery and songwriting in a bold way. It’s Raining My Tears kicks things off with an explosive and passionate build up, a mighty song that impresses musically as well as in terms of the subject matter and the artist’s approach to it.
Living in Crazy follows the opener with a now familiar level of power and swagger. The song has the classic rock style and memorability of a driving-soundtrack from a simpler time. The piano and the electric guitars meet and compliment each other brilliantly, and all the while, Carol LaDuke’s undeniably genuine, emotionally poignant leading voice drives the song’s underlying sentiment in a fitting way.
The project’s title track is perhaps the one that stands out the most among the collection. The acoustic delicacy and LaDuke’s relevant connection to this in her delivery makes for a gentle, almost whispered and partly medieval soundscape that lightly pours its ideas and its distinctly reflective mood into the room. As the song progresses, the ideas of love and all that comes with the sentiment are presented with a little more passion at every step. The song is well placed for its differences and draws a strong level of focus to its poetic lyricism.
Dancing Away My Blues brings through an immediately warming, country rhythm and ambiance. The story-telling that follows fits beautifully, and the whole thing highlights a slightly different side to the artist, which again feels very welcome at this point. The verses lay bare a more vulnerable side to the work, letting the listener feel a little closer to the performer, bridging that gap. Where the earlier, louder rock moments provide that essential entertainment, the full escapism experience is not complete without these contrastingly softer moments. This particular track grows to be a bright and quite infectious piece with an enjoyable layer of optimism – the likes of which will hopefully inspire listeners to follows suit and dance away their own blues for a while.
How Long Did You Cry? (When Patsy Died) is an absolute personal favourite from the collection, there’s something very real and thoughtful about it – LaDuke’s delivery of the concept seeks to involve the audience but simultaneously offers something very personal and heartfelt. The memories, the questions, the imagery – all of this makes for a well crafted song, and the music reflects the emotion just right. LaDuke’s performance here is one of the most endearing of the project, she pours her soul into the sound and it resonates for these reasons and more. The melody and the music increase in intensity and this lets the ideas hit with more and more impact as things move along.
The EP comes to a close with the upbeat and subtly energizing tones and rhythm of Armadillo. The concept is again of love, loyalty, the simple things that make people happy. The beat and the musical movement is wonderful, a great way to see the collection to its end and a strong reminder of the eclecticism but also the essential threads throughout Carol LaDuke’s music. Her voice is incomparable right now, passionate and interesting, and it presents these particular songs to the audience in an unquestionably real way. Well worth a listen for the songwriting, the musicality, and this appealing meeting between nostalgia and now.