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"As Written"
by Philip H. Farber

Artist: Vickie Russell
Album: As Written
Label: Dance of the Dolphin
Rating: **** (out of 5)

Vickie Russell is a singer-songwriter who now resides in the New Paltz area, having moved here from New York City a few years back. She is a frequent performer at clubs in Manhattan, and apparently has a following in Europe, where she has toured. Her music has been featured on a couple of compilation CDs, but As Written will be her first full-length effort.

And it should cement her a solid place among music fans, both locally and abroad. As Written is just what the title implies, a recording of her songs just the way she wrote them, with simple, solo arrangements. Russell accompanies herself on piano and guitar, and occasionally harmonizes with her own voice, via overdubs. With the simple arrangements, it's often surprising just how rich these songs become. Russell's voice is clear and strong, ranging from lilting to passionate, and her playing, likewise, often belies its apparent simplicity with richness of effect. While this recording is purely acoustic, with an emphasis on songcraft, it doesn't pigeonhole that easily. There are elements of folk, rock, classical, and new age styles threaded through Russell's songs. Lyrics are evocative, personal, and often spiritual.

Her CD is available at Rhino Records in New Paltz and at her performances.

For a taste of Russell's sound, you can usually catch her opening up and hosting the singer/songwriter nights at Le Soleil-Lune Cafe on 2 South Chestnut St., New Paltz, once a month.

For more information, call Le Soleil-Lune at (845) 255-0389

Philip H. Farber is a freelance writer who lives in the Hudson Valley. He writes for a variety of area publications, including the Kingston Daily Freeman and the Woodstock Times, as well as national magazines, books, web sites and anyplace else that will offer him money or gratification.
He can be reached at

Posted on March 22, 1998

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