Fire & Water
Vermont singer-songwriter Rebecca Padula has been performing mainly as a solo roots based singer-songwriter in the Northeast for the past decade or so, but this project marks a departure into a fuller ensemble sound. The CD entitled, "Fire & Water" is her third album. It features members of Padula's backing band, bassist Mitch Barron and percussionist "Shrimp" and a host of Vermont guest stars including: Gregory Douglass, Paul Asbell, Dave Keller, Phil Abair, Jamie Masefield, Rik Palieri, Susannah Blachly and Colin McCaffrey. Barron and Shrimp are both talented veteran players who are in demand session players and each perform in several regional bands. Most of the 14 tunes on "Fire & Water" were written by Padula with a few exceptions. Vermont writers Carol Abair, Susannah Blachly and the late Rachel Bissex also appear as songwriters. "There is a definite Vermont vibe to this project," Padula says. "It also deals with a lot of opposing ideas and conflicts- fire and water, love and loss, red states and blue states. For me, what's more interesting than polarized points of view is what happens in between them when things get mixed up and real communication happens." The band covers a range of musical styles covered from traditional acoustic blues to bluegrass to rock to bossa nova. A lot of the album's subtext is political, but Padula said she gets turned off by us versus them party politics, "we need to find a way to listen, not just talk at each other." In 2007, she won the Vermont Peace Songs contest with her song, "We are Free." It appears on the new album along with: "What's Going On?," which highlights continuing genocide around the world; "Less," a co-write with Rachel Bissex, explores the loss of farmland to box stores; "The Neighbors" details a cycle of domestic abuse; "The Argument" looks at our failure to communicate when it comes to politics. There are also some pretty and fun non-political tunes too including the jazzy romantic "After Rain" and the lullabye "At Bedtime." Padula holds a double degree in music and journalism from St. Michael's College and has penned more than 40 original songs and released 2 independent albums on her Sweet Bean Music & Media label: "Time, speed & distance" (2003) and "Waterfront" (1997). She has also written news stories for a number of New England newspapers, is a documentary filmmaker and an advocate for free speech & independent media. Her folk concert documentary film "Margaret's Waltz," a tribute to Vermont folksong collector Margaret MacArthur, was recognized as 2007's "Best Documentary Event" by the Northeast Alliance for Community Media.