Reed Foehl | Swallow Hill | Denver, CO | 4/13/12 | Review

Baptized in Folk tradition and based in Colorado since 1989, Reed Foehl (pronounced Faille) has a soulful voice with a body of work that offers communion to a Folk congregation whose apostles have names like Guthrie and Dylan.

This April 13th, Reed Foehl debuted his forth-coming album, Color Me In, at Swallow Hill. Established in 1979, the Swallow Hill community is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the United States to serve as a source of roots, folk and acoustic music. The Julie Davis School of Music located in downtown Denver provides music lessons for all ages and presents more than 200 performances a year.

Previously a church, the venue’s pane glass echoes stories. The stage, once the altar, now proclaims the spirit of folk music. With the accompaniment of cello player Philip Parker, Foehl unveiled an assortment of acoustic arrangements. One of which was the title track Color Me In, a reflection of the isolation and loneliness that comes during the cold winter months. Foehl then slipped behind the keys of a grand piano to present a requiem of sorts, a murder ballad “The Kill”. His voice was reminiscent of a sorrowful Neil Young.

Not just another songwriter, Foehl’s lyrical prowess demands a second listen. Though not always good news, there is a message. For example, the song Strange Days (Acoustic Junction, 1999) intricately dissects the acceptance of a moment in which the realization that a sudden ending is inevitable and there is nothing left to do but move on.  Foehl sings, “And in the moment that it matters/every compromise is shattered/as the second hand moves faster than the first/ on the winds of my arrival/was the chance of my survival/these are strange, strange days”.  Foehl’s writing is filled with such thoughtful and detailed moments of personal expression.  The new album promises to hold more of the same as he collaborated with the great contemporary folk musician Gregory Alan Isakov.  

Look for Reed Fohel’s new album Color Me In this fall.  He is currently touring most of the mid-west in April and will be hitting the East coast in late spring.

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