Roots Time Review

See original review in Dutch or in English on rootstime.be

Singer and songwriter Erika Kulnys grew up in eastern Canada in the province of Nova Scotia. As a Canadian she looked from childhood on to her famous musical compatriots Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell who all made it to worldwide celebrities as singer-songwriters.

Erika Kulnys learned to play music on a piano that she, in imitation of her idol Tori Amos, also uses to compose her songs and which she uses as accompaniment instrument in her performances. As successor to her successful albums “Angel On The Road” and “Wings” from 2014 she has now recorded a new album under the title “Rise Up” with twelve new own compositions.

Typical of her work is that in the songs on her records she frequents different and diverse music genres. The opening song of this new CD is the solid rocking “I’m On Fire” that is immediately followed by an acoustic ballad in “Love Me In The Morning” where the violin by Ian Kennedy and the cello by Catherine Bent for the matching atmospheric sounds to care.

The theme of the 12 songs on “Rise Up” is situated in the sphere of love, peace, freedom, equality and social justice. Erika Kulnys brings these texts in a very credible way and with an honesty and openness that you do not often hear in contemporary music anymore. As a typical example, the album title “Rise Up” (see video) can serve this purpose. It is a call for solidarity with all immigrants and refugees who are looking for a better future in this world.

The beautiful song “Angel On The Road” from her eponymous album of two years ago gets an emotional rework here with fragile vocals and ditto piano playing by Erika Kulnys. Of the same high quality are the equally fragile piano ballads “Love’s Not Wasted”, “Honeysuckle” (with once again heavily strings) and the song “Burning The Furniture” as a tormented soul.

Erika Kulnys can also be very smooth and poppy in songs like “Keep Your Feet Moving”, “Hummingbird” and closing song “Sacrifice” or in country song “Carolina” in which her singing style reminds us of the childish sounding voice of country celebrity Dolly Parton. “Rise Up” is an album with twelve equal songs of top quality, written and sung by a talented Canadian singer-songwriter that we want to hear more in the future.

(valsam)