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!!
Giving a shout out to my friends and fans in UK as I pass through London.