Your average folk album doesn’t require in-depth historical research and character development – but then your average folk or country musician also doesn’t tend to create a two-disc, one-woman vaudeville concept album. From Rachel Dawick ’s face on the record sleeve to her unapologetically Kiwi accent shining through on each track, this is a project that sticks to its roots, and the goals of its creator who has a very capable posse of musicians saddled up behind her.
Sub-titled ‘Stories of NZ Pioneer Women in Song’ Dawick has explored the diverse experiences of a wide range of women from pioneer-era NZ (1820 – 1893), accessing a matching variety of sounds. Guitar-driven as most of the songs may be, there is plenty of Dave Khan’s fiddle, accordion and tambourine scattered through to evoke each individual character.
With the same songs presented on the accompanying two-act ‘The Show Album’ disc, the underlying melancholy in many of the tales is offset by a few more uplifting tracks. The album packaging is very homespun, but entirely appropriate to what the record is setting out to achieve – a backcountry (in the kindest way) history of women in early NZ.