Everyone is Someone
4 stars (out of 5)
By Donald Teplyske
Canada’s vocal sweethearts are—at tender ages—veterans of the road and studio. Having toured the frozen north countless times and recorded three previous albums, the Ontario folk-sweethearts are ready to conquer the United States.
Already familiar through extensive appearances from California to the northeast, and to PBS audiences for the Girls from the North Country production, Dala’s 2009 release Everyone is Someone is now widely available through our friends at Compass.
It is apparent that momentum is building for the duo of Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine. Recently they’ve been mentioned in American Songwriter and heard on NPR’s Mountain Stage. A Canadian Folk Award came their way this autumn as Vocal Group of the Year and just this past week they were nominated for a Juno Award. Could a comic book be far behind?
With no shortage of Canadian girl groups crowding the folk marketplace—The Wailin’ Jennys, The Be Good Tanyas, and The Good Lovelies being but three—Dala requires significant quantities of talent and spunk to distinguish them from the pack. Fortunately for this pair who originally met during a high school music class, they have those qualities, and more, in abundance.
As they did on 2007’s Who Do You Think You Are, Dala keeps things in-house on this recording writing all the songs either together, alone, or with frequent collaborator and band-mate Mike Roth. What is increasingly apparent is that Dala is finding ways to delve a little deeper into the mysterious realms of human relationships.
Always a little flirty, the duo continues to mix their frivolity with a bit of introspection and maturity. “Levi Blues” transcends pun and is a rare and heartfelt declaration of intimacy and fidelity that becomes a treasured favorite after a solitary listen.
“Alive” contains bittersweet sentiments almost every woman- and most men- can appreciate: “I dance in the snow and I sang to the stars, ‘Cause we lost our power just to find our hearts.” And who among us can’t relate to the pivotal line of “Face in the Morning:” “I love to make promises when you’re asleep”?
While the mood of the album is gentle—bordering on sedate—things never slide into indulgence. Sparse instrumentation is the norm, and the acoustic guitars, mandolins, piano, and unimposing percussion lovingly embrace and support the duo’s vocal harmonies and clear leads.
Everyone is Someone may be a little off the dirt road for many readers of the Lonesome Road Review, but those who appreciate diverse offerings of music may well consider searching out this latest release from Dala.