Paula Standing Earns An Ovation on The More I Give LP
It’s difficult for anyone (whole bands, orchestras, symphonies, etc.) to match the music sophistication readily evinced on Paula Standing’s Long Player, The More I Give.
There’s not just guitars, for example, but rather mandolins, acoustic guitars, banjos, tenor guitars, a papoose (not the rapper) and a Dobro—and that’s only the instruments manned by Rod McCormack. The strings are artfully sculpted by real violins (primarily of Andy Leftwich’s handiwork), Pat Crowley chimes in an accordion among other instruments, and that says nothing of the live bass, pianos and keyboards on display throughout these 10 cuts.
The result, as one may imagine, is a richness to detail in the instrumentation that far exceeds that of most albums. The array of stringed instruments whirl and tread waves of water of notes and rhythms, spending a fair amount of time on each track humming along sans drums. Standing gets down, as it were, on the vocals with a strenuous voice timed with canny inflections to spotlight some credible songwriting that’s another hallmark of this collection.
“Call It Home”, the opening number, is decidedly winsome in its optimism—there’s a “new horizon calling me in the name of opportunity” the songstress declares—with a delicate balance between being either an up tempo ballad or a mid tempo number. Plus, at some point in these tunes McCormack usually grabs the mic, blending his voice into Standing’s to accentuate various parts in the choruses or verses. Again, it’s all well put together, immaculately produced, and credibly mixed for Standing’s work to shine, seemingly effortlessly.
That’s just what she does on “I’d Go Back”, one of the more upbeat tunes that’s rousing with a country twang in the banjo and the heartfelt sentiment about the days when “everyone would sing around the piano.” The hook is particularly effective on this number with a delectable melody worth hearing over and over again.
“Back” is the perfect counterpoint to the titular track—which it follows—as a ballad largely bereft of drums which, as far as this reviewer is concerned, only gives McCormack and likely Jeff Taylor more room to please on the piano, which coruscates through a series of chords and seemingly spontaneous notes.
No, you certainly don’t fluke up on this degree of musical production, which benefits Standing in every way possible on this album.