Belle-Skinner Closes Out The Year With This Beautiful Recording
Fans of Belle-Skinner and we are guessing she has made many new ones this year, are in for another treat. The EP There Grows A Tree In Paradise is a gentle dreamscape of mostly covers and one original from the talented singer-songwriter and guitarist. Belle-Skinner spends her time between Upstate NY and Brooklyn. This recording is the third of the year for her with “Early Covers” dropping in October and a must listen to full band nine-track album entitled “Violets” of all original music. All three releases form an incredible tapestry and some beauty when it is most needed during the 2020 pandemic.
There Grows A Tree In Paradise begins with a very haunting song “Yayo” as Belle-Skinner explores the spaces between the melody creating a wonderful dreamscape that peaks as she lingers on the high notes. The darker storytelling shows the undertow, that even the most beautiful voice acknowledges as an artist. Track two is a Dolly Parton cover that sounds more like Joan Baez hijacked the song and Belle-Skinner’s fingerpicking style shines here as she sings
“My life is likened to a bargain store
And I may have just what you’re looking for
If you don’t mind the fact that all the merchandise is used
But with a little mending, it could be as good as new
The bargain store is open, come inside
The bargain store is open, come inside.”
The next song on There Grows A Tree In Paradise is a spiritual and captures the theme of this record. Another haunting lullaby with an excellent mix on the recording of the layered fingerpicking over the very rich voice. “Virgin Mary Had One Son” is another spiritual and again sounds pristine. One can see why Belle-Skinner chose these covers to release in December. Again excellent production from Kevin S. McMahon at Marcata Recording, New Paltz, NY who mixed and mastered these tracks. Belle Skinner tackles the 5th track, a cover of Dylan’s “With God On Our Side” with an innocence that this very complex song reverberates. Another very timely choice as our country might not be as young as when Dylan wrote this song, nor some of the subject matter, but it is easy to see we still face the social issues brought up here. This cover can go down as a masterful portrayal with sly, gorgeous singing.
The final track of the EP is an original “Little Cuckoo Bird” and with a very minimal guitar, Belle Skinner’s voice is quite catchy on a very fun, sing along tune about letting go while still holding on.
“Little, little one
Only know one thing before you leave
You don’t know how you have cared for me
Every moment that you sing
And maybe someone new
Would be happy if they heard your song
But I pray that it won’t be long
‘Til you come back in the spring.”
Her voice is playful and almost a little poppy, like Regina Spektor. With these great songs, another EP of covers, and a full record Belle-Skinner has kept busy this 2020. During a time when many artists are struggling with ambition, she has outdone herself with very clean recordings, masterful playing, a hauntingly beautiful voice all while injecting beauty into the musical landscape. Listeners can find her on Bandcamp and all the music is available digitally or even as a Cassette tape which this writer plans to purchase for his collection. Hopefully, we are in store for much more from this talented artist in the years to come.