BIO and VIDEOS
Modern folk musicians Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald, from Nevada City, CA., have been writing and performing original, contemporary folk music for 29 years. A blend of contemporary and traditional styles, their music is graced by exquisite harmony, compelling songwriting, deceptively simple arrangements and intricate guitar work… all embraced by great heart.
They’ve been applauded throughout the US as well as overseas for the lyrical content of their songs and vocal blend…a haunting style which weaves unique harmonies into a rich tapestry of guitar work and storytelling.
They are Kerrville, Telluride and Rocky Mtn New Folk and Unisong International award winners, to name just a few, but the real nature of their musical voice doesn’t come into focus as easily as reciting a list of these coveted prizes. The quiet way they live and work flows through their music like water, and washes over you as surely as the notes do. You get the impression that working for issues like peace and justice shouldn’t keep us from dropping everything to help a stray animal in need, and that ambition is nothing without love, because one thing follows another, one hand connected to the other. In an uncompromising yet comforting way their music is patient, like talking with someone who looks you in the eye, someone who reminds you to breathe, because these things might take a little time. Their songs are filled with stories that touch us all, and whether it’s love or politics, war and peace, old farmers, old women or the earth and our children, this music brings to life both history and today with a powerful mix of inclusion and compassion.
At home in large venues like the Strawberry, Kerrville or Kate Wolf music festivals, a late night ‘in the round’ tribute to Woody Guthrie with folks they greatly admire like Jackson Browne, Eliza Gilkyson, Steve Earle and Jimmy Lafave, or in the small intimate setting of a living room house concert, Paul and Eleanore sing with the same voice. One that is personal and unguarded… a voice draped in stark and ethereal harmonies as welcoming as the warmth of a winter's fire.
Since 1987 Paul and Eleanore have independently produced 9 albums of original music, receiving critical acclaim from all of the various trade reviewers worldwide. Music from these CDs are played on NPR, Community, College and Public radio stations the world over as well as on internet and satellite radio. They’ve been featured in Sing Out! Magazine (most recently in the winter 2010 issue, with a song co-written with Utah Phillips, 'Sihp Gonna Sail'), Air America, Democracy Now!... ’Josephine’, from the CD ‘Fool’s Paradise’, was used at a multimedia event in 2002, commemorating the events of 9/11/2001 at Ground Zero in NYC. They’ve been seen on PBS performing on a few episodes of the ‘California Heartland’ series, and have had their song ‘Calling on Love’ used in a PBS ‘Visionaries’ segment. Their song, ‘The Dark Seed’ will be featured in a upcoming documentary film by Aaron Lucich, ‘We Are What We Eat’, and their rendition of Kate Wolf’s song ‘Unfinished Life’ is included on Nina Gerber’s latest CD ‘Good Music With Good People…Live at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival’.
Their newest CD, ‘From the Fire’ was released in June 2010, and features the work of guest artists Joe Craven, Nina Gerber, Bill Douglass and Tom Menig (Alela Diane). It has charted #45 out of 265 CDs on Richard Gillman’s 'most played of 2010' list based on playlists submitted by Folk DJ’s worldwide … the song ‘Ship Gonna Sail’, co-written with their friend and respected elder, the late Utah Phillips, is featured in Sing Out! Volume 54#1 — Nov./Dec. 2010 & Jan. 2011… now Paul and Eleanore are hoping to start work on a long planned recording of unrecorded pieces written by Utah Philips.
A concert with Paul and Eleanore is a night to remember…the depth and beauty of their lyrical and harmonic mastery is filled with colour, their songwriting is stimulating, inspirational, magical, folky yet somehow all smoky jazzy and far away places too, and it might make you want to get up and move…their powerful lyrical imagery and haunting and moving harmony always in honor of their folk roots.
You can view VIDEOS of a live performance, footage taken in July 2010, here -
Archived Radio Interviews:
- podcast - W/ Jeffrey Callison, Sacramento’s CPR ‘INSIGHT’ program
-w/ Che Greenwood, Folk Say, KVMR Nevada City
Sonicbids EPK - http://www.sonicbids.com/PaulKammandEleanoreMacDonald
CDBaby - http://www.cdbaby.com/all/kammmac
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Paul-Kamm-and-Eleanore-MacDonald/52634676765?ref=ts
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/paulkammandeleanoremacdonald
Homepage – http://www.kammmac.com
“I once heard Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald at 4:30 in the morning and was sure I must have been dreaming, I pulled them aside the next day and made them sing again to prove it wasn’t a mirage, and they are for real, GREAT writing and harmonies that can fuse your spine….” ELLIS PAUL
"Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald are as good as it gets; amazing harmonies, great songs, and a wonderful vibe on stage that is at the same time entertaining, spiritual, musical, and totally delightful. If you ever get an opportunity to see them in person, take full advantage of it. You won't be disappointed!" FREEBO
“Gorgeous harmonies, poetic and genuine words, truth and beauty distilled into song — the world needs this kind of music.” JULIA BOORINAKIS HARPER, KVMR radio
“The way you can make hard things beautiful and beautiful things even more so seems to reach inside me to a place I can’t quite describe and say, “See, there really is hope”. CHE GREENWOOD KVMR fm
Paul Kamm - guitars, vocals
Eleanore MacDonald - vocals
From the Fire 2010
Like Water 2005
Fool's Paradise 2003
Calling on Love 2000 out of print (avail. digital at CDBaby)
Fields of Elysian 1995 out of print
Into the Clouds 1991 out of print
Unbroken Chain 1989
Game of Dances 1987
'Calling on Love', 'Fool's Paradise' and 'Like Water' are still getting airplay (digi and fm) worldwide, and the recent release,
Bread And Salt
If You Hadn't Been Lucky
Lost In America
To Let the Light In
Walls of Paradise
Last Tango In Paradise
Song Of The Land
Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald ‘From the Fire’
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Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald ‘From the Fire’ Freewheel 109 For almost 30 years, Californian...
Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald ‘From the Fire’ Freewheel 109
For almost 30 years, Californians Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald have been honing their remarkable musical gifts, all of which are on display on this, their ninth album of original music. First and foremost, they sing in gorgeous vocal harmony, trading off the leads between Paul’s soothing tenor and Eleanore’s strong soprano. They accompany those harmonies with string arrangements that are at once tastefully spare and deceptively lush, making a few carefully chosen instrumental parts sound like a full band. Often, those parts are performed on unusual instruments, such as cajon, tambino,kora, kuttro, jawungo or tenor guitar, selected especially for their particular sound.
Paul and Eleanore draw deeply from both the traditional and the modern folk idioms. Their songs pay homage to American styles from folk balladry to Gospel, as well as Latin and African rhythms, but those styles are updated for modern sensibilities. For example, the stirring ‘Ship Gonna Sail’ uses the traditional form of a cappella call-and-response but is accompanied by rap-style vocal percussion. Similarly, the themes of the songs draw from the inspirational and protest songs of the folk tradition, including quotes from civil rights leaders, paeans to the coming of peace and justice and references to the “ancient wisdom of Mother Earth”. The album also features an elegiac but upbeat song for the recently passed Utah Phillips, a mentor and friend of the artists, who co-wrote another of the songs. Although Paul and Eleanore have never enjoyed widespread success, their beautiful music cannot help but move those who do encounter it. SS
Paul Kamm & Eleanore MacDonald: From the Fire
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Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald sing wonderful harmonies and write powerful lyrics and melodies. ‘I...Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald sing wonderful harmonies and write powerful lyrics and melodies. ‘If You Hadn’t Been Lucky’ has a catchy phrase, is thoughtful and warm. Paul plays guitar; Eleanore plays percussion and sings. The have a flexible cadre of musicians. The jazz bass by Bill Douglas on the title track ‘From the Fire’ is wonderfully expressive playing under the lead guitar of
Nina Gerber. The album and song are dedicated to Utah Phillips ‘…when you made a song from the fire…” Eleanore’s voice haunts with the lyics “Snow is falling through a halo of streetlights..” Pedal steel by Larry Tracy sings too. ‘Quiet Voices’ started by Paul’s vocal calls us to notice the little birds. ‘’Ship Gonna Sail’ is acapella with Paul and Eleanore joined by Tom Menig and Joe Craven. It’s a history of civil rights and labor rights with suggested messages from Eugene Debbs, Mother Bloor, Paul Robeson, Ceasar Chavez, Phil Berrigan and others. ‘The Walls of Paradise’ emphasizes a spiritual basis “Children, don’t give up your heart to the counting of days..” This one has Mediterranean rhythm and fiddle. ‘Bread and Salt’ continues like an Eastern poem sung by Eleanore. Musically the collection is exquisite; lyrically the emphasis is on replenishing the earth and supporting life. The title track is my favorite. Sample these songs at the CDbaby web address above. [J.W. McClure]
As Good As It Gets
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"Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald are as good as it gets; amazing harmonies, great songs, and a w..."Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald are as good as it gets; amazing
harmonies, great songs, and a wonderful vibe on stage that is at the
same time entertaining, spiritual, musical, and totally delightful.
If you ever get an opportunity to see them in person, take full
advantage of it. You won't be disappointed!"
in his own words...
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The way you can make hard things beautiful and beautiful things even more so seems to reach inside m...The way you can make hard things beautiful and beautiful things even more so seems to reach inside me to a place I can't quite describe and say, “See, there really is hope”. Che Greenwood 2003
Sing Out! review -Like Water
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Review of 'Like Water', Sing Out! VOL. 50 No.1 Spring 2006 Like Water embodies the strongest per...Review of 'Like Water', Sing Out! VOL. 50 No.1 Spring 2006
Like Water embodies the strongest performances by Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald to date. Their powerful voices work tightly together in a way only longtime partners can. This highly political CD of original songs includes a few love songs for good measure, plus Utah Phillips' 'Starlight on the Rails'. All political songs should be as musical and interesting as those on this CD. Kamm does most of the writing, with MacDonald contributing to his lyrics on three songs. The CD opens with a punch, “The Judas Silver”, about our corrupt society, how we came and stole this land to the exploitations of labor and “worship in the shopping mall”. “Salt in My Tears” sings the plight of the downtrodden and little people in our society. “Peace Jumpers”, with words by Utah Phillips and music by Kamm and MacDonald, tells the heroism of conscientious objectors an how they were abused. Amid all of this, “Like Water” is a gorgeous love song abetted by Murray Campbell's fiddle. “Talking About Freedom” is their most fists-in-the-air song full of justified anger with the current state of affairs. They call the last track, “Talk Radio”, a bonus track. It's an unabashed put down of the hot air pundits of the right with sound bytes of them as punctuation. They credit Mark Kewman with the bytes, and since I don't listen to talk radio I'm not sure whether he recorded them for insertion or whether he mimics them. Kamm and MacDonald co-produced the CD with Mikail Graham. Kamm plays guitar, with occasional percussion by Albert Vasquez and additional guitar and bass on a few tracks from Graham in this lightly produced recording. If you like the sound of creative protest and conscience along with a splendid love song or two from two people who definitely know how to make music, check out this recording. - Rwarr
FAME review - Like Water
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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Scott Sheldon (Scott@Sanctuaryconcerts...A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Scott Sheldon (Scott@Sanctuaryconcerts.org)
First, a disclaimer: This is not a CD I was prepared to enjoy.
For one thing, the current polarized red-vs-blue mood in our country has made me very weary of simplistic, name-calling partisan rhetoric, whether from the Left or from the Right. Unfortunately, Like Water contains a lot of that rhetoric, using capitalized bugaboo phrases like "Big Corporations" (oooh!) and "Box Stores" (oh my!)...even weaving Canadian pharmacies, Desert Storm, uranium poisoning, slanted news, minimum wage pay, and corporate greed into a single song (Salt In My Tears).
To my taste, a simple song about good-hearted people surviving hard times, in the Woody Guthrie mold, can make a political statement a thousand times more eloquently than one that uses didactic lyrics like "the poor fight wars while the rich drink martinis." Write a song about the soldier, or about the rich man: Don't just throw stones! Ironically, one of the songs on this album, Talk Radio, lampoons exactly the sort of name-calling that the album contains.
Similarly, I had trouble getting past the unexamined "everything-is-beautiful" mood of the CD: The liner notes refer obliquely to the "unsung heroes" who "give solace and protection to our animal brethren" but are ignored by "mainstream history" (though the songs do not refer to any of this) and contain photos of Stonehenge and random passages from the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
Still, I enjoyed and recommend this album.
Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald's music is marked by Paul's ringing guitar work and Eleanore's gorgeous alto voice. They draw deeply from the Celtic harmonic tradition, using droning minor chords and open tunings, over which Paul and Eleanore harmonize beautifully. The production is spare and expert, capturing the still beauty of the arrangements and even the airy harmonics created by the dissonant tunings and the singers' harmonies.
The songs on Like Water are nicely varied, ranging from moody Celtic ballads to skiffle beats (Salt In My Tears) to Latin rhythms (Listen To Your Heart).
Lyrically, the album does have its share of blunt political polemics, including Judas Silver ("We'll never know the people who make our jeans/and live in shacks and pick our greens…we worship in the shopping mall") and Talking About Freedom ("I'm growing impatient/With leaders and bosses who laugh up their sleeves/And think we're stupid and won't lift a finger…").
However, these are leavened wonderfully with atmospheric mood pieces, like End Of The Season (a wistful meditation on regret and longing reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's Urge for Going), Like Water (a lover's laundry list of what his beloved means to him), and the performers' neighbor U. Utah Phillips' Starlight On The Rails, which views the years of a solitary nomadic life as "cold as starlight on the rails").
The most enjoyable song on the CD is Peace Jumpers, which poignantly gives a voice to a Conscientious Objector who chose to serve by becoming a fire jumper rather than a soldier. When he heard the scorn of the other jumpers, he "hooked their words to the static line and jumped into the fire." Beautiful.
I wouldn't mind if Paul would write more songs like Peace Jumpers, that tell the stories of people of political conviction or people ground under the wheel of injustice, rather than setting political speeches to music. However, "Like Water" is a moving and beautiful collection, and I recommend it.
Sing Out! review - Fool's Paradise
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FOOL'S PARADISE SingOut! Vol. 47 #1, 2003 Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald have been married a...FOOL'S PARADISE
SingOut! Vol. 47 #1, 2003
Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald have been married and performing together for 20 years. This delightful couple are writers and singers of “neo-impressionist folk music”. Eleanore describes them as an “opinionated redhead and a diplomatic cohort”. they live in the same town as Utah Phillips in Northern California. Anti-war/peace activists, vocal dissenters and strong supporters of animal rights, they have no trouble finding topics
Paul and Eleanore have produced 7 CD's while traveling nationally. Their style is comprised of simple, graceful tunes, quiet vocals and lyrics that attract and hold any audience. Their harmonies are their trademark. They can sing separately or meld perfectly.
They are a bit of a national secret despite having become a Kerrville New Folk winner in 1997, and a Telluride Troubadour and Rocky Mountain New Folks Showcase winner for two consecutive years. It is hard to believe that such beautiful voices and calm demeanors can be applied on Fool's Paradise to such tough songs as “Josephine”, about America marching like “self righteous crusaders again” after September 11th, and “Rebel Son” who is asked “what have you found that would make you lay your body down?”.
Overall this is a beautifully written and sung album bound to be played frequently on my player. Recommended. - VKH
Rambles review - Fool's Paradise
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RAMBLES ~a cultural arts magazine.... www.Rambles.net 2003 Fool's Paradise, the latest offerin...RAMBLES ~a cultural arts magazine.... www.Rambles.net 2003
Fool's Paradise, the latest offering from Kerrville New Folk winning duo Paul Kamm and Eleanore Macdonald is their best yet. I've been a fan of Kamm and MacDonald since the first time I saw them in concert in 1995. Their recordings hold up well to repeated listening and are among those that find their way into my changer time and time again. Like experienced vintners, this duo's product - their musicianship as well as their skill at producing their recordings - keeps improving as the years pass, and with more than twenty years performing and recording together, they are setting the mark very, very high. It's actually difficult to try to find appropriate superlatives to describe Fool's Paradise. It's such a fine piece of work that the term "quantum leap" kept coming to my mind, although the word doesn't quite fit. After all, this CD is MacDonald & Kamm's seventh effort, and necessarily part of an evolutionary process. But this offering, like a
bottle of Bordeaux laid down years ago, has produced a vintage that discerning listeners will recall more than fondly. It contains a perfect blend of the many different aspects of songwriting, performance and production, such that final result is something truly wonderful.
The first thing that struck me about Fool's Paradise was how good this CD sounds. The quality of production values are as close to perfect as anything I've heard, including offerings from major labels. Kamm and MacDonald built and equipped their own recording studio and with the assistance of Mikail Graham, whom they describe as "the man behind the curtain," as well as "daughter Supreme" Breelyn MacDonald, who is described as "our 'other' ears,'" (and to whom the CD is dedicated) they have created an acoustic masterpiece. A listener could listen as they would to an instrumental recording, without paying attention to the words, and come away perfectly satisfied. In a Rambles review a few years ago, my only commentary that was less than congratulatory was my comment that the blending of two voices and one guitar lent a superficial "sameness" to each cut that took some time to dissipate as I developed a more intimate knowledge of the individual songs. At that time, I opined that this "sameness" might be avoided with less use of parallel vocal harmonies, and suggested that "these two voices would sound wonderful with arrangements that had them singing different lyrics at the same time, with melodies and counter melodies interwoven to create a broader palette of sounds -- a
technique often used by The Indigo Girls." That may well prove true, but while Kamm and MacDonald chose not to take my undoubtedly unwanted advice (continuing to employ the parallel harmonies that help create their sonic signature) in Fool's Paradise, any hint of "sameness" is gone. I stand corrected. One spin of this CD informs the listener that they didn't need to make the changes I suggested. I couldn't tell you what's different, but I can say that this is CD is a cohesive, well constructed work with lush
harmonies and orchestration that is so gorgeous that a person could listen to it over and over again without paying any attention to the lyrics. But oh, how they would miss out, because the lyrics are such well-written poetry that they could stand alone without the music! The combination of the two are what left me grasping for superlatives. In my allegorical "CD cellar," this is simply one of the finest vintages I've ever come across.
Fools Paradise wove a spell that enveloped me from the first instrumental introduction to the final stanza. On an emotional level, I was touched deeply by each and every song. Especially poignant were the cuts that related to recent and current events. "Josephine," a collaboration between Kamm, MacDonald and Bodhi Busick, is a lament concerning the events and aftermath of September 11th. It also relates strongly to current events. As this review is being written, the government of the United States has just invaded Iraq. Once again I feel as if I have been torn asunder, and this CD is helping me process my emotions just as if these songwriters reached into my heart and drew on my own horrified reaction to these events as grist for their creative process. These lyrics from "Josephine" apply equally well to events that had not yet transpired when the song was written:
"Like a shot heard around the world,
like the only piece of news
It choked any other thing that might have spoken true
Just rally 'round the flag, boys, and demonize the foe
and turn those human faces into something that won't show
Be careful what you say here
In the land of the free
'Cause the walls are closing in
In this age of certainty
And all at once, tomorrow came suddenly …"
George Orwell almost had it right, but the year should have been 2003, rather than 1984.
But Fool's Paradise offers a healing touch too. I took great comfort in Kamm's "Let Love Remain:"
"Oh how the times have changed and still been the same. Yet through all these troubles love remains. So come lay your burden down, let your heart be true. There's nothing more you need do … Don't call on tomorrow to show us the way, when the dust hasn't settled on today. It's only a changing sky - the sun and the rain - between what we've lost and what we'll gain. Tell the conductor not to stop this train. It's all right to weep now, cause you'll be back again. Let love remain …"
Mention must be made of the contributing musicians, Peter Grant on pedal steel guitar and dobro, Rob Bonner and Rich Stanmyre on bass, Keith Allen on guitar and dobro, Gary Campus on congas and brushes, Stephen Holland, Tony Unger, Nina Gerber, Tom MacDonald, all on guitar, and the man behind the curtain, one-man-band Mikail Graham on bass, fretless bass, guitar, EBow, atmospherics and electric sitar. They all contribute mightily to the polish that makes this CD gleam like the jewel that it is.
I can't recommend Fool's Paradise more highly.
CD and live performance review
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RAMBLES ~a cultural arts magazine.... (http://www.rambles.net/kamm_love.html) Calling on Love (FR10...RAMBLES ~a cultural arts magazine.... (http://www.rambles.net/kamm_love.html)
Calling on Love (FR105) live at the PALMS, Sacramento, CA (May 1995)
A few years back, Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald opened for David Wilcox at The Palms -- a tiny, friendly venue that is literally a small barn tucked away on the edge of some relatively new suburbs that sprouted like weeds out of the rich farmland between Sacramento and nearby Davis, California. I had really been looking forward to hearing Wilcox, who is one of my favorite performers, and I had arrived early at this first-come, first-seated "concert hall." The Palms is as intimate a setting as you can find, with room for just over a hundred people in a rustic space so constricted that those in the front row can rest their feet on the edge of the six-inch-high stage. I'm a nut when it comes to acoustic steel-string guitars, and I had just ordered an Olson cedar-top like the one I knew Wilcox played. It was dangling impossibly far away at the end of a two-year-long waiting list, and I was eager to hear what my new guitar would sound like. But after I secured one of those coveted front-row seats, I saw that Wilcox's Olson and his relatively high-tech series of pedal-actuated effects were nowhere in sight. Instead, there was a simple setup consisting of two microphones flanked by at least two or three guitars (an Alvarez-Yairi and a Taylor come to mind) that were resting in their stands. I sighed in exasperation, realizing that I would have to wait through someone's idea of a musical "appetizer" before getting to enjoy the long-awaited main course.
My pique melted away as soon as Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald took the stage, and began their set. This duo has two distinct musical signatures -- their vocal harmonies and Kamm's syncopated finger picking and strumming, which is every bit as recognizable as the styles of Norman Blake and Tony Rice, two of my guitar heroes from the bluegrass flatpicking world. Kamm's elegant work on the guitar provides the perfect support for his simple but lyrical melodies. Kamm's strong vocals are in turn taken over the top by MacDonald's soaring harmonies. I was entranced by their forty-minute set and when the break came, was pleased to see that they had a table filled with CDs available for
purchase. While I was trying to determine which album to buy, I made the mistake of asking MacDonald which album I should buy if I could only afford one. She briefly favored me with a glance that instantly made me aware of how witless my question had been before kindly explaining that each of them were like her children, and she couldn't recommend one above any of the others. I wished that I could buy all of the albums but finally settled for Fields of Elysian, which had a hauntingly beautiful song that featured MacDonald, about an adopted child's musings concerning her birth mother.
I treasure albums that age well, and over the years I have found myself sliding Fields of Elysian into my CD changer again and again. It was therefore with eager anticipation that I unwrapped Calling on Love, Kamm & MacDonald's first recording in three years. My first impression was that the CD was musically very similar to Fields of Elysian (after all, these are the same two voices, backed by the same guitar). If I had stopped there, without allowing myself time to let the music and especially the poetry wash over me in repeated waves, I would have done myself and these two fine artists a disservice. Calling on Love is an album that not only wears well, it almost needs to be broken in -- although truth be told, it is the listener who is changed by the music, not the other way around. Kamm's compositions and the two songs the duo covers are performed with deceptively simple artistry. Kamm's lyrics are such beautiful poetry that they could stand alone, and with accompaniment and harmony added, they seemed to beg me to return to them again and again. When I yielded to this calling, I had a new understanding and appreciation every time. There are elements of musical accompaniment that I don't recall from Fields of Elysian, such as Alasdair Fraser's viola on "From Clare to Here" (one of the few songs not penned by Kamm), and the sparing use of piano, fiddle, fretless bass, other guitars, keyboards and "atmospherics" on other tracks. I particularly liked Fraser's fiddle on "Chasing the Storm."
There is nothing here not to like, but I did find myself wanting just a little more. Kamm sings solo on this album, and I wished I could have heard a number that featured MacDonald's beautiful voice. And while the previously mentioned superficial "sameness" dissipated as I came to appreciate the nuances of each arrangement, I would love to hear these singers experiment with vocal arrangements that were less parallel. These two voices would sound wonderful with arrangements that had them singing different lyrics at the same time, with melodies and counter melodies interwoven to create a broader palette of sounds -- a technique often used by The Indigo Girls. I want to emphasize though, that this particular desire for "more" dissipated considerably as I came to appreciate the intricacies of the arrangements. This is a very, very fine work. These "parents" have another precious child in which I'm sure they deservedly take immense pride. It is an album that I know I will treasure for years to come.
[ by Tim O'Laughlin ]
Dirty Linen review - Calling on Love
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Dirty Linen June/July 2000 PAUL KAMM & ELEANORE MACDONALD - Calling on Love Paul Kamm and Eleano...Dirty Linen June/July 2000
PAUL KAMM & ELEANORE MACDONALD - Calling on Love
Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald's 16 years of performing together is certainly in evidence on this, their fifth recording. Harmonies this rich and graceful don't happen by chance. Combine that with Kamm's strong voice, compelling songwriting and stylish guitar work, and the results are truly outstanding. The arrangements are as tasteful as the songs, perfectly complemented by Kamm's rhythmic guitar, MacDonald's lovely voice, co-producer Mikail Graham's subtle touches of bass and guitar, and Alasdair Fraser's fiddle. In addition to Kamm's seven original songs, there are two covers, a moving version of Ralph McTell's “From Clare to Here” and Garcia/Hunter's “To Lay Me
Down”. A wonderful recording and highly recommended. (JLe)
Sing Out! review - Calling on Love
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SingOut! 50th Anniversary Issue 2000 On this, their 5th CD, Eleanore MacDonald and Paul Kamm's 'C...SingOut! 50th Anniversary Issue 2000
On this, their 5th CD, Eleanore MacDonald and Paul Kamm's 'Calling on Love' has no extra fluff. Though there are strings, bass and piano added, much of the production relies on the bare excellence of great guitar and harmonies.
The title cut is a prayer to the future and it sets this quality right at the start. In the song they call on love to rescue us all from fear, violence and suspicion. The sentiment of peace through love, for the sake of the children of our world, is beautiful and their delivery does it justice. Throughout the song, as well as the rest of the CD, their harmonies are exact and their very breath is in unison.
Singing independently, these two are clearly very fine singers, but their voices combined have a magical, moving effect. Covers of “To Lay Me Down”, by Garcia-Hunter and “From Clare to Here” by Ralph McTell, are great examples of how the simplicity of superb and confident voices can shine with little accompaniment.
They sing messages of love, spirituality, dreams and prayers. The choices made with string additions match the mood that their flawless singing creates. Evidently this duo has spent time building a studio and is now ready for more recording. I say, bring on the next CD! (AP)
Dirty Linen/Performing Songwriter - Unbroken Chain
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DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE # 40 "What's even more staggering than the amount of singer-songwriter materi...DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE # 40
"What's even more staggering than the amount of singer-songwriter material that is produced is the amount of really bad singer-songwriter material that is produced. Paul Kamm & Eleanore MacDonald have managed to defy the odds by not only putting out a fine independently produced project, but by being responsible for some of the best songs I've heard in a long time by any artist on any size label.
The first thing that strikes me about the disc is the exquisite harmony these two artists create. Both Paul and Eleanore have sure & graceful voices but, oh, when they meld it's one of those sinfully rich pleasures- like a musical S'more. Songs are about things like rainy days, peace and Oklahoma farmers, each delivered with a seriousness that evades being preachy. Paul's gentle guitar & sparingly used synthesized sounds complement his lyrics perfectly, engaging the listener throughout the entirety of the disc. With all it has to offer, UNBROKEN CHAIN deserves major label attention and a place in the music collection of anyone who respects and admires beautifully crafted and executed music.
PERFORMING SONGWRITER Vol. 1, Issue 3
"Ordinarily I duck long folk narratives, but Paul Kamm & Eleanore MacDonald utterly seduced me with their extended takes on disc one (Unbroken Chain). Singer/ Songwriter/ guitarist Kamm clearly loves literature, history and mythology, and he weaves moody tales and hypnotic spells with references that simply resonate. Yet, he also avoids any dense lyrical or rhythmic overkill, giving each line it's full space to breathe. Lyrics are just part of their story. Kamm & MacDonald both have fine voices- warm, measured, expressive- but their harmonies are exquisitely and a real treat to listen to... Aural Heaven!"
The sets are infinitely adjustable!! Paul and Eleanore have about 100 original songs, with more coming all the time - their sets generally will include a well rounded cross section of their older songs and will prominently feature the newer ones. They also have an eclectic mix of covers they can do in true Paul and Eleanore style...
There are no upcoming dates at this time.