CD Review:
Caution to the Wind

Phil Cohen and Patricia Ford
Hard Miles Music  
reviewed by A.V. Avadhuta
 

There is no better medium for directly communicating and expressing your feelings and ideas than acoustic folk music. And Phil Cohen and Patricia Ford have used this medium to its best, in this collection of songs, which express both personal experiences and social messages in a pleasing, melodic fashion. 
 
 Phil and Patricia, in addition to being fine musicians, are both labor organizers, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Phil’s song “Hard Miles” tells the tale, based on his own experiences, of a labor organizer working for social justice in inhospitable surroundings. “War for the Roses”, sung by Patricia, is a lament dedicated to women whose husbands are away at war. Another socially oriented track is “Frail Light.” Written by Phil and sung by Patricia, it is a song for single women who work to support their families. 
 
 A surprise track is “Touch of An Angels Hand”, a story, which Phil says is true, about the miraculous healing of a young child. It’s a surprise in that some activist musicians do not include spiritual songs in their repertoires. But, had I been more acquainted with Phil’s music, I wouldn’t have been surprised, for in this collection he moves easily between love songs, social activist, spiritual and even lullabies.
 
 Phil does most of the lead vocals, and Patricia provides well-matched harmonies. On “Shadow of a Heart” Patricia harmonizes with herself. The instrumental music is simple, Phil on acoustic guitar, accompanied by a fine quartet of musicians who provide backing fiddle, harmonica, bass, flute, mandolin and percussion on the various tracks. 
 
 Unfortunately, this is not mainstream music and you won’t be able to find the CD in your nearest record shop, but you can treat yourself to a fine experience by listening to and ordering the music online at the website http://metalab.unc.edu/hardmile   
 
 
 This article was printed in New Renaissance, Vol. 11, No. 4, issue 39, Spring, 2003  Copyright © 2003 by Renaissance Universal, all rights reserved.  Posted on the web on March 22, 2003.