Live for Casa
Lorna Bracewell has been making music professionally since the tender age of 13 when she received her first paycheck as a drummer for a local Tampa rock band. Although, the crowd could barely see her pre-adolescent head peeking out from behind her tom-toms, they could hear her passionate exuberance for the backbeat loud and clear. That love of the simplest musical element, rhythm, is something Lorna, now 23 and a seasoned singer/songwriter/guitarist, has not outgrown. She beats on her acoustic - it's a jumbo Taylor... Ouch! - the same way she grew up beating on her drumset and the crowds still love it. There's just something compelling about seeing such an expression of release and abandon emanating from such a skinny frame and a smiling face. Lorna's passion is rivaled only by her prolificness. Her resume reads like that of someone twice her age: She has recorded and released four self-produced full-length albums of original music in as many years on her own label, Braced Well Records. She has toured extensively in the United States and Europe and shared stages with artists from Dar Williams and Mellissa Ferrick to Amy Grant and Chris Isaak. She's even rocked right alongside Anne and Nancy Wilson of the classic rock band Heart. And these are just her artistic achievements. Bracewell is also an educator and an activist. She lectures at colleges and universities throughout the United States on topics such as violence against women and gender inequality. She is also the founder of 'On This Earth: Art to inform, enlighten and empower,' a series of themed benefit concerts in her hometown of St. Petersburg, FL. This album, 'Live for CASA,' was recorded live (obviously) at a benefit concert Lorna performed for CASA (Community Actions Stops Abuse), St. Petersburg's domestic violence center. The disc features live performances of songs from Lorna's most recent studio offering, 'God Forbid,' including the feminist anthem, 'Independence Day.' Words like, 'It is independence day / Raise your hands the blood is washed away / And we all stand, a world made brand new' take on a whole new significance and meaning as Lorna sings them directly to the CASA staff and the women that they so tirelessly serve. 'Live for CASA' also features a treasure trove of previously unreleased material. One of the album's highlights, 'Stones at the Sky,' ranks amongst Bracewell's most challenging and controversial pieces. In this brooding and powerful piece we find Bracewell railing at God like only Job and Dostoyevsky have done before her, calling him to account for the unjustified suffering he permits in his cosmic scheme. Here are the lyrics to the song's unflinching chorus: 'Hearts break / Newborns cry / And life just takes and takes and takes / Until it bleeds us dry / Bones ache / And daughter's die / Oh why, dear God, oh why / Aren't we all throwing stones at the sky.' Enough said. Now, from what has been said so far, you might be thinking that 'Live for CASA' is all thunder heads and no silver lining, but don't be deterred. Just when you think Bracewell has started to take herself too seriously, she breaks out into 'The Hokey Pokey.' That's right. She even busts out with a little freestyle rap in the middle: 'You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around / I know you're gonna show me what it's all about.' Where does she get this stuff from? If you've not had the pleasure of hearing Lorna live, 'Live for CASA' is the next best thing to being there. It really gives you sense of who this young, dynamic, always compelling and always entertaining artist is. This disc is not to be missed.