Rachel Garlin – Wink at July

by Janet Goodman

rachel-garlin_wink-at-july“Holding it together is a metaphor/For someone trying not to fall apart/Like the bellows of a loosely hung accordion/That move against a tightly pleated heart/They say it’s like a one-man band/A piano right inside your hand,” sings San Francisco singer/songwriter Rachel Garlin on the second track (“Accordian Song”) of her latest album “Wink At July.” It’s typical of her conversational-poetry style of writing and her observant eye for detail; Garlin’s 11 other self-penned songs  here comfort and sometimes dazzle the listener with words and her easy-to-take-in, Shawn Colvin-inspired, mostly acoustic musical vibe.

Produced by JJ Wiesler and recorded in her home-base city, this Tactile Records release shows a lot of looking back, as on childhood moments in “Colorado Rain” and the poignant snap shots of the title track. Backed by a playful mandolin, Garlin beautifully describes an painter at work in “Up on a Ladder in Boots” and continues to “paint” a picture in “Stranded,” where Phoenix, Arizona sizzles with hot blacktop and prison inmates clad in pink.

In “Hey Keith Haring,” she vividly recollects the 80’s New York graffiti scene with a surprising country touch of dobro and acoustic guitar, tipping her hat to this late street artist whose “crawling baby” and “barking dog” are now iconic symbols of the once underground art form. Garlin is, in a sense, a visual artist in her own right, using effortless vocals and clear enunciation to bring her colorful lyrics to life.

Visit the artist at www.rachelgarlin.com

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