Can You Feel It?
Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Jessa Campbell and her band the Saplings hail from Portland, Oregon, and their debut album Can You Feel It? includes ten original, nature-based songs in a variety of styles. The opening title track offers a lovely, banjo-fueled song about life cycles, while “Mole in The Ground” is a bluegrass litany of different animals one could imagine being. The wonderfully titled “Waltz of Trillium and Ant” tells of the symbiotic relationship between plants and insects, while “T-Rex in the Forest” is a dramatic Dino tune, and “How I Love You Sun” is a country-style love poem to our nearest star, complete with sweeping pedal steel guitar and some real scientific observations. “Shadow Doo-Dah” uses the melody of “Camptown Races” to explore how shadows are made, and “The Great Happening” celebrates the joys of being outside in nature. Two of the album’s highlights are the jazzy “Fractals,” that revels in the geometric beauty of the world, and the conservation-minded aquatic acapella of “Water Worth.” The album ends with the lovely, dreamy “Goodnight Pacific Northwest,” which bids adieu to all the indigenous animals of Oregon.
Campbell sings with a strong, clear voice that is both friendly and approachable, though one would have appreciated lyrics either with the CD or on her website. Her band provides fitting backing in mostly country and bluegrass styles and are particularly good when they break from standard 2/4 time signatures. The album is housed in simple, plastic-free packaging, adorned with Paola De La Concha Zindel’s charming artwork.
Lahri Bond ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.