Reviewed by: Mike DeGagne, Freelance Music Critic, AllMusic _ Paula Boggs’ unique voice, sharp and witty writing, and knack for producing slick melodies and jazzy-bluesy rock music is enlightening to say the least. Her music is folksy at times, pop-like at others, and balanced out by some charming mid-tempo stuff that is quite refreshing. On A Buddha State Of Mind, her latest release, there’s a little bit of everything to choose from. Playing acoustic guitar, her material is part Janis Ian and part Carole King, with a wee bit of Tracy Chapman thrown in on the vocal end of things, but her authentic voice makes all of her work sound genuine, modern, and reflective. Her album kicks off with a pair of tunes titled “A Buddha State Of Mind” and “Peel The Charade”, which highlight her tender yet powerful singing talent and nestles in amongst some great melodies, easy rhythms, and original lyrics that are intelligent and poignant without sounding pretentious. There’s a sort of “coffeehouse” feel to her music, but only in the comforting sense, as her material is far beyond the amateurish level. “Miss Ruby Kirby Blues” has a familiar sounding blues romp to the beat and to the rhythm, but Boggs’ voice gives the tune an edgier feel and a down-home type of essence to the entire play out of the song. There’s a great easy-going rock thrust to “Look Straight Ahead”, helped along by some effective cymbal crashes and a catchy hook in the guitar lines. Here, Boggs sounds excellent, boosting the slow incline of the song’s progression with her singing, and then giving way to some nice guitar work at the song’s finale. “Someone Else” has a sweet tenderness to its flow and to Boggs’ poetry of love and loss. Soothed by the tender, mellow guitar and piano, this track packs both passion in her voice and a disheartening air in the lyrics, as the song centers around “finding out” that your love has found someone else. “Blue”, a piano guided ballad of vocal zeal and sincere lyrical outpouring has Boggs sounding her finest. With the lonely piano painting the backdrop, Boggs’ singing plays along nicely with the melody and accentuates certain words at just the perfect time. “Finer Thread” is another impressive rock song with a blues/rock backdrop, including more noticeable guitar playing that mimics a Dire Straits type of feel at times. The following track, “Rock and Roll” changes gears a bit, as Boggs covers the Led Zeppelin classic with a slightly half-paced rockabilly cadence. It’s kind of a bluesy number, but with the time signature changing completely from the original, Boggs ends up putting a unique spin on the hard rockin’ classic that’s interesting and out-of-the-ordinary to say the least. “Toll The Bell” is another slow piece heightened by some beautiful violin playing, while “Traces Of You” has a dream-like effect in its wavy melody and laidback advance. The album ends with “Original Sin“, a decent number that involves more wonderful guitar work and an appealing tempo. The whole of A Buddha State Of Mind is invigorating and refreshing, and sounds professionally innovative in its song craft and musical composition. Paula Boggs gives each of her 12 tracks a personality of their own, and her album makes for a charming listen from start to finish. There’s sure to be more to come from this talented songstress in the near future. Review by: Mike DeGagne Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Artist: Paula Boggs Album: A Buddha State Of Mind Review by Andrea Guy
When you aspire to be a musician, many people may tell you not to quit your day job. Paula Boggs’ day job is being the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Starbucks, but that didn’t stop her from releasing A Buddha State Of Mind.
So what does an executive of a Fortune 500 company sound like? Pretty darn good.
Paula Boggs delivers an album that has a late 60s vibe, but is really hard to categorize. It is a little rock, a little bluesy, a little folksy and a whole lot more. The title track opens the album. At first you are expecting something spiritual, when in fact the song is more an observation with a touch of humor as illustrated by the lyrics “Mayor Bloomberg loves Shakira’s hips. I love white wine. I pause to take a tiny sip.”
A Buddha State Of Mind is made up of 10 original compositions and two covers. The two cover songs are pretty ambitious. Paula chooses to cover Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll,” and she more than does justice to it. The guitars are wonderfully bluesy and cleaner than on the original.
The other song she covers is Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” These two covers really show Paula’s talent as a singer and performer. She shows listeners that she is capable of rocking out as well as handling the softer side with ease.
It is not the covers that grab your attention on this record, though they are fantastic, it is the original compositions. Paula Boggs really has a knack for songwriting, and she has a voice that really grabs your attention. The combination is perfection.
One of the standout tracks on A Buddha State Of Mind is “Miss Ruby Kirby Blues.” This bluesy track has the sound of Allen Toussaint with a touch of Elvis Costello. The guitar is slow and easy, which is just the same way Paula’s vocals flow. The lyrics tell the story of Miss Ruby, a gal from Houston, Texas.
“Someone Else” is probably one of the most heart-wrenching tracks of lost love that you’ll ever hear. When she sings “You love someone else. I just found out the other day,” your heart will break. Her plaintive vocal tears at your heart, making you want to seek out the person that has caused the pain in her voice and give him a good swift kick.
Paula rocks it with “A Finer Thread.” This song makes you feel like you are in a club. The guitars sound wild and free, adding to that club vibe. This song will have you longing to see Paula perform live.
The album ends with a song called “Original Sin.” The song isn’t what you’d think it is about. “Like him, music heeds the willing and heals the world’s disease.” She’s referring to Jesus in this line. It is an interesting comparison and definitely a lyric that is food for thought and much debate. It leaves you wanting more, making it the perfect song to close out the album.
A Buddha State Of Mind is what happens when everything seems to come together—good songwriting, great musicianship, and superb vocals. This album has all of those things.
Review by Andrea Guy Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Artist: Paula Boggs Album: A Buddha State of Mind Review by Matheson Kamin
While Paula Boggs’ day job has her dealing with the day-to-day business matters as executive Vice President for Starbucks, her 2010 CD A Buddha State of Mind shows that she has other talents that she can tap into. That 2010 album shows off her abilities as a folk-rock musician and singer.
The CD starts off with the title track “A Buddha State of Mind”, which features lyrics that focus on reflection. At times, Boggs speaks of the Buddha and his peaceful outlook, while at other times, the lyrics reflect on the current situation in the world. The lyrics of the song make you think, just as Boggs is doing as she focuses on the statue of the Buddha.
With “Peel the Charade,” Boggs takes a more gentle approach to the music, creating a very folk-like track. The gentle feel to the music goes well with lyrics about the modern-day world. The lyrics speak of the world today and create a feeling that brings to mind troubadours and songwriters back in the nineteen sixties who had a lot to say of their current-day situation. “Peel the Charade” is one track that puts Paula Boggs in the same category as those earlier writers, making today’s audience reflect on these times the way earlier poets made their audiences think about their times.
“Look Straight Ahead” is perhaps the track with the strongest message. The folk-rock song focuses on the people in our society that feel so out of place because of being different. These feelings make them turn inside themselves for solitude where no one can bother them. Though we see people like this every day, we choose to turn away instead of lending support.
It is on the song “Someone Else” that we get to experience some of the pain of life through the lyrics of Paula Boggs. The Lyrics on “Someone Else” tells of being left behind in a relationship that has come to an end, though the narrator only just found out. The listener can almost feel the pain in Paula’s words as she sings.
Paula Boggs brings a little sadness to her album once again with the song “Toll the Bell”. The song about death feels a lot like a prayer as Boggs sings about those left behind after a life comes to an end. The simple guitar part and the string arrangement add just the right amount of sadness to the track.
With the song “Traces of You,” you feel like you are listening to a letter being composed to someone who has left a lasting impression. The images conjured up by the lyrics make you feel warm as you listen to the poetry set to music. The song features a kind of duet with Boggs playing guitar and John Stiemert on piano. Together, the duo of Boggs and Stiemert create the backbone of the song.
A Buddha State of Mind comes to an end with the song “Original Sin”. The folk-rock song is one of the strongest tracks and gives the release a strong ending.
Each of the twelve tracks that make up A Buddha State of Mind from Paula Boggs shows that not all of her talents lie in the boardroom at Starbucks. This CD shows off the talent of the inner musicians that lies inside just waiting to let loose when the day comes to an end. Give Paula Boggs a chance and she’ll keep you entertained from the first note of the CD right to the very end.
Review by Matheson Kamin Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Dear Fans -- thanks for your support and enjoy recent review of "Buddha" by veteran freelance music critic Dan MacIntosh:
"Paula Boggs is an old school folksinger. That’s a compliment because she’s not just a singer and acoustic guitar strummer, which is sometimes wrongly the lazy definition of a folksinger. Granted, there is a lot of acoustic instrumentation supplying the musical beds for these 12 songs. However, Boggs has an issue-oriented mind, and one that makes the most of these serious, or at least seriously smart, songs.
Perhaps the two inclusions that stand out most upon first listen are Boggs’ two cover songs. One is “Blue,” originally by Joni Mitchell. At times, Boggs’ voice sounds a little like latter day Mitchell. Boggs’ singing has a tough gal tone to it, which Mitchell only accomplished after numerous cigarettes. Boggs’ cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” is even more intriguing. When Plant, Page and gang initiated the tune, it was a strange cross between heavy metal and old time rock and roll. However, with Boggs’ take, the song is stripped down to the same old time rock and roll this song’s lyric originally saluted. Boggs’ singing is fun and playful, as she gives it just a touch of Maria Muldaur vocal spicing. It’s quite a revelation, and quite good.
The most touching song on the album is called “Someone Else.” It’s a confessional folk song, like the variety that was so popular during the singer/songwriter boom in the ‘70s. The lyric features Boggs pouring out her raw emotions. She’s faced with the shocking fact that her man has fallen in love with another woman. Boggs practically bleeds this one out. It may be a therapeutic exercise, but there’s no guarantee she feels any better after singing it.
There are also a few of musically innovative tracks on this disc, as well. “Lenny’s House” is driven by Jeff Fielder’s plucky banjo playing. Its lyric speaks of a hipster musician everybody is proud to be around. “Miss Ruby Kirby Blues” also features a memorable instrumental backing. It’s a blues song, as its title obviously gives away. However, John Stiemert’s piano solo really lifts this recording high above being just a typical blues workout. “A Finer Thread” is delightful primarily for its Mamas & the Papas-esque backing vocal section. If you’ve listened to any Mamas & the Papas music at all, this track will give you a nostalgic rush. This album’s prettiest song is the ballad “Toll the Bell.” Instead of a standard folk music backing, producer Matt Brown surrounds Boggs with strings. These stringed accompaniments are provided by Jami Sieber on cello and Chris Kovalchick on violin. Brown also chimes in with bell effects.
A music critic was recently bemoaning the fact that in our age of Occupy Wall Street, there sure aren’t a lot of great protest songs. The turbulent ‘60s, on the other hand, were famous for the amazing socially active song craft that came out of the era. Why aren’t we hearing the same quality musical commentary? This lack of music to match our challenging times is precisely why we need artists like Paula Boggs. Boggs has the voice and a skill of Tracy Chapman (By the way, where has SHE been?), and just may be the musical artist to fill this conspicuous void. Let’s hope so, at least.
Review By: Dan MacIntosh Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 5)"
ABOUT DAN MACINTOSH: Dan MacIntosh has worked as a a professional music journalist for 26 years.His work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, Country Standard Time and Spin.com.
How cool is that?? Will print off the ballot this weekend and get to work!
An amazing experience! We played 6 songs for 30 mins. and warmed the crowd for Eric. With just his voice, guitar and a harmonica player, Eric left us all in awe...blues at its very best! It was an honor...
Check it out...one of my songs is featured on this CD at Track 5!!
Check it out: CD Baby lists "Buddha" as a "Top Album" in its "Folk/Rock" genre category!!
Hey Friends and fans, besides CD Baby and ITunes, there are now 2 new ways to get my debut CD "A Buddha State of Mind." You can provide comments and/or review the CD at any of the 4 sites. Check it out!!