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Here in the Center of the World[CD]
Gayla Drake Paul has long been regarded as one of the finest guitarists and songwriters on Planet Earth, and Eric Douglas is only now beginning to receive the recognition he deserves, but the collaboration between these two virtuosos is powerful and rich. The evolution that Gayla's songwriting has gone through during the last few years has reached maturity in these 10 euphoric songs of love and longing. Drawing inspiration from Buddhism, Gnostic mysticism, and the writings of Rumi and other mystic poets, as well as her deep Celtic and Native American heritages, she weaves tender and ecstatic stories of passion, reverence and desire. Her voice is in rare form - not pristine, but wonderfully mature and more powerful than ever. New is the addition of an electric guitar - a hollow-body jazz box, the inspiration behind many of these songs. The addition of brilliant drummer and percussionist Eric Douglas was a master stroke - his energy is irresistible throughout the recording. He is in a perfect state of relaxed control, of laid-back drive, and there are times when it sounds as though the guitar and drums are thinking with one mind. His accents and ornaments never add clutter - he plays without ego, in perfect service to melody and groove. He is one of those rare musicians who can bring out the very best performances in any musician he works with, making him "drummer of first choice" for many touring acts and ensembles. The songs on the CD range from pop to jazz to folk to funk to blues to fusions of all-of-the-above. Both masters of timing, phrasing and expression, you can clearly hear how much Gayla and Eric love each other's playing and how excited they are to be working together. All songs were recorded live with both musicians in the same room, playing together - a rarity in any kind of music these days - and the performances have incredible energy and spontaneity. The stripped down arrangements with only guitar and percussion lend an intense intimacy to the listening experience - there is nothing in the way of these songs, and every song is strong enough to stand up to that intense focus. Not to be missed!
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