Ithaca (Bonus Track Version)

Ithaca (Bonus Track Version)

Having written all the songs for 2010’s IIthaca, Paula Cole is in clear command. Her dramatic piano pieces eyeball stadiums but play just as well in the den. Leadoff cut “The Hard Way” is prime Cole. Her voice works the octaves, layers into thick harmonies and trails away to leave a piano that explores its own lovely melody. The song is about her divorce, which is also referred more obviously in “P.R.E.N.U.P.,” which features legendary sideman Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) on banjo. “Waiting On a Miracle” plays like a striking old-time R&B ballad. Cole flies up to the top of her range with easy action and ends the song with some chilling wordless coos. Her identity took a few hits and these songs face that crisis. However, the album also embraces her new life. “Somethin’ I’ve Gotta Say” questions whether she wants to go on with music after the birth of her child. But “Music In Me” makes clear: there is still enormous inspiration and ability inside of her. Her talents are immense.

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