Claudia’s Wonderful Storm
Bruce Von Stiers
Claudia Nygaard says she straddles the fence between country and folk. I kind of think she has something there. Most artists either do one or the other. And if they do combine the two styles it usually leaves a lot to be desired. But not so with Claudia. Her music is truly a fine dining experience of both country and folk.
Claudia has had a varied career. Like a lot of underrated performers, Claudia had to go to Europe to be successful. She also logged in performances at over 150 U.S. fairs from coast to coast in what is commonly known in the trade as the “ corn dog trail.” And Claudia a few years as a staff songwriter for Greenwood Music.
But it has become time for Claudia to branch out and make herself known to the entire world. And to do that, she wrote and recorded a debut album. The title of this freshman album is Let The Storm Roll In. Claudia produced it herself and wrote all of the songs on the album.
Claudia has some pretty fine people working with her on the album. There is Rick Lonow, Dave Roe, Mick McAdam, Jeff Taylor, Bill Verdier, Mike Baker and Fats Kaplan. Also helping out are Andy Reiss, Barbara Lamb, Colin Linden, Charlie McCoy, David Henry, Steve Conn and a whole bunch of other folks. There is even a six person choir for one song.
A touch of the ol’ Irish can be found in the first offering from the album called Big Country. A pennywhistle, the accordion and boudhran can be heard in the background along with the fiddle as Claudia sings smoothly. The song brings to the forefront the melting pot of heritages that makes up the citizenry of the U.S.
Utterly enjoyable and fun is the second song on the album. It is Miss Kitty and deals with the owner of the saloon in Dodge City that was famous from the radio and television show Gunsmoke. The song admonishes Marshall Dillon for not properly romancing Miss Kitty even though the world, and both of them, knows he’s in love with her. The music in the song is a bit burlesque, a bit ragtime and a bit old style country. In other words a hodgepodge of purely enjoyable music wrapped around vocals that have more than a hint of laughter in them.
A song that I found very endearing was J.C. It was about an African-American man who helped out her dad as a handyman. She just couldn’t see, as an eight-year-old, the prejudices and bigotry that her older friend J.C. suffered at the hands of members of her community and the world at large.
A rollicking boot kickin’ tune is Twelve Little Red Heartaches. You definitely won’t be able to sit still while listening to this one.
A slow and easy country waltz bluesy time can be found in Georgia Boy.
Coyote has some tough harmonica and good guitar behind fluid vocals.
His Left Side is a song that Claudia wrote for her late father. It is a beautiful song that gave me a lump in my throat. As I listened to the song, I reflected on the loss of my father eight years ago. Even though we didn’t get along so well, I still miss him sometimes. It is songs like this that indeed cause us to stop and reflect on the loved ones who have moved on.
Say It has a kind of light rocking country tone to it. I caught myself smiling at one of the lyrics as Claudia describes a florist bill due to the number of flowers used in a forget-me-not thing.
I Want To Touch You is a slow and easy love ballad.
What’s Cookin’ is nice old style country light toe-tapping ballad.
Montana Wind has great harmonica and acoustic guitar backing melodic classic country vocals.
The album ends with the title track, Let The Storm Roll In. It is another slow and easy ballad.
Claudia Nygaard has taken elements of old style country, mixed in a touch of folk and made a great album. There are fun songs, endearing songs and love laments. Just the right ingredients for a terrific listening experience.
Let The Storm Roll In is now out in stores and online.
Check out Claudia’s official site to learn more. That site is www.claudianygaard.com.
© 2011 Bruce E Von Stiers