Paula Cole’s eleventh studio album, “Lo” is devastatingly personal and utterly gorgeous.
Her first album of entirely original compositions in nearly a decade, “Lo”’s eleven songs, written entirely by Cole, navigate her opening to trust again after indelible blows of life. As the first woman to ever be nominated for the Best Producer Grammy in her own right, Paula Cole returns to the helm of recording as sole producer. On “Lo”, her loyal bandmates of many years (musicians that are stars unto themselves) join Cole in the studio. “Lo” was recorded entirely live, featuring full band performances from Jay Bellerose (drums), Chris Bruce (guitars), Ross Gallagher (upright and electric bass, backing vocals) and Rich Hinman (pedal steel, guitars). It was recorded and mixed by nine-time-Grammy-award-winning-engineer, Mike Piersante, whose unique sound is the canvas for “Lo.”
The autobiographies that are the songs of “Lo”, are the newest Polaroid snapshots of Cole’s life. The focus is her most recent period of years, saying goodbye to her friend and early collaborator, Mark Hutchins, on “The Replacements & Dinosaur Jr.”, reflecting on her childhood’s psychological influence in “Follow The Moon”, her primary relationship, in which she wrestles inner demons in “Green Eyes Crying”, lays down her “Invisible Armor” to find hope, rebirth, acceptance in “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,” and physical intimacy in “take it take it take it”. Cole faces her identity in the spine-chilling, redemptive “Wildflower”. “Lo” is a window to Paula Cole’s psyche. Continuing her social-justice writing through music, Cole’s “Lo” reveals songs “Calling All Saviors” (a catchy pop gem), and “Letter From A Quarry Miner” (written from a North American quarryman, to his European family during The Great Depression in 1932.) Cole weaves in the words of W. B. Yeats in “Golden Apples of the Sun '' while honoring Ray Bradbury in “Fahrenheit 451”. The song is a poem, touching on the concept of the anthropocene and the frightening prospect of erasing history. With her eleventh studio album, “Lo”, Cole eloquently weaves the personal with the universal, the shy with the provocative. She concludes with the uplifting “Flying Home”, an homage to Max Erhmann’s “Desiderata”.
From whispering poetry in a low alto range, to opening her throat in primal scream, Paula Cole’s voice is more commanding than ever, revealing battle scars, deep wisdom, the soulfulness of gospel, the urgency of rock, and the sensitivity of folk. Cole plays piano, Rhodes, acoustic guitar, clarinet and sings her artfully arranged background-vocals. She is a poet with a funky groove.
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