Annie Gallup—Bookish

2019, Flyaway Hair

[CD Baby]

Annie Gallup sees life in 4D, slowing things down, walking around them, scanning the surface until her words capture the depth. As she sings, her phrasing explores the lyrics, her voice melodic and musing, easily engaging her audience from the stage with the grace of her performance. Lyme Disease has made it impossible for her to tour and perform for the last several years, so it was important to her that this album be recorded without overdubs, a tour to take to her fans on a digital road. We hear just Annie and the mellow tone and gentle reverb of her electric guitar. Recorded in a studio in her house, the very air in the room seems to be flavored with softly lit intimacy. A penchant for historically based songs continues from her duo album with Peter Gallway, Cold Smoke, with several songs tied to various points in history, from WWII to the beginning of the space age. “The Roads Were Deserted” drops you into a car date on a war-emptied road. Particulars of a promising beginning (“I’d packed some sandwiches and lemonade and apples I quartered then tied back together”) crumble into mysterious abandonment. “Sputnik” catches a young observer looking up through a toy telescope, feeling cosmically small, longing to be more than a picture drawn in chalk seen from space. Other songs explore individual stories with the wisdom of perspective. “Fellow Traveller” finds an eleven year-old girl, (who reminds me of Laura Ingles) clandestinely meeting a gentle stranger by the river, but unlike Laura, the house she sneaks out from was not a place of frankly expressed love. “Mother was a mystery/ So I lived like a detective.” “My Father Loves Poetry” is a free verse masterpiece, grabbing you with focal points of emotional detail and taking your breath away just when you think you know where the song will take you. Bookish is a wonderful album, transporting you to other times and places, inviting you to peer over shoulders, to chuckle or sigh by turns. Annie will not be bringing this music to you in her car… so you will need to seek out this CD to book her on your own private stage. —Michael Devlin

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