I have been a huge fan of the Wyrd Sisters ever since I reviewed their CD Inside the Dreaming way back in 1994. I missed out on Raw Voice and Sin & Other Revelations, something one day I will rectify, cause these gals have always been fantastic.
While a dozen years have gone by since Inside the Dreaming until the release of Wholly, the power of the Wyrd Sisters has not waned one bit.
Through the years the line-up of the all-female trio has changed, but Kim Baryluk, one of the Wyrd Sisters' founders, the primary writer, and lead performer has stayed a constant, and clearly she is the heart of the group, and her writing that which gives the Sisters its soul.
Baryluk has a style that certainly connects with the protest songs of the best folk singers. There are works here that are heavily laden with messages calling for a better world; in particular John Badertscher comes to mind.
The material the Wyrd Sisters perform is also deeply spiritual in nature, although not with any particular faith taking centre stage. While some Christian themes, like the lead cut Mary (Wholly), they mix in enough imagery there is a near pagan feel to many cuts too, which might be a natural given the trio's chosen name of the Wyrd Sisters.
As a group the Sisters show another strength too; their crystal clear vocals, and flawless harmonies.
I also like how these ladies add depth to songs in subtle ways. For instance an aboriginal chant used in Mary (Wholly) is a perfect added touch.
The piece Skin has an extended section that is simply read. It is another cut with a definite message, and the change of pace of reading the words rather than singing them helps push the point of the song home.
Overall, there are 12 songs here, and not one is weak. I even like the tongue-in-cheek, female anthem Faucet.
There is little doubt if the Wyrd Sisters sang country, or pop, something with broader radio play potential they would be among the best-known groups in Canada. They however are on their own course and that means far better lyrics and a stronger message than you would likely see if they succumbed to a pursuit of airplay.
Search these ladies out at http://www.wyrdsisters.com/ and find yourself something truly special.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 1, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada