Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sylvia Bagge: Release the Medicine

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to think when I first heard Sylvia's new album, "Release the Medicine". The raw sound and bare vocals had an awkward charm, leaving me uneasy and curious.

Her retro 1960s lyrical content and psychedelic album artwork appealed to my hippie side in a way that scared me yet brought me comfort at the same time. After several listens I've noticed myself being drawn in closer and closer. It became clear that the sound I had described as "raw" more accurately could be described as honest and pure.

Track three, "Song for the Ganges River", is one of my favorites. Sylvia's poetry comes from the heart and reveals a touching connection to nature and it's emotionally healing properties.

Her song, "Everyday", probably has my favorite lyrics out of the whole album in which she searches herself for forgiveness:

Help me to let go of the things that I don't understand,
Please give me love for the people that I can't stand,
Help me to remember that God lives in every man,
Help me to unfold my fist into an open hand

Another highlight is Sylvia's cover of the Grateful Dead's "Terrapin Station". With close nit harmony vocals and warming cello played by Sylvia herself, she creates a ten-minute epic journey full of rich instrumentals and triumphant vocals.

Sylvia gets bonus points for giving 100% of the proceeds of "Release the Medicine" to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and for duplicating her CDs with environmentally friendly materials.

In addition to writing and performing her psychedelic peace music, Sylvia teaches yoga, does hospice work, and lives with "two kitties and a bunny" in Oakland, California.