A Point On The Map

Review

Karen Burton's "A Point On The Map" is something of a rarity in this age of over produced, preprocessed music. Karen's songs are warm and poetic and the innocence and simplicity of her performance somewhat belies the lyrical complexity of the pictures she often paints. "Tom" is perhaps the most telling indictment of the current bout of xenophobia sweeping Australian society that this listener has yet heard; and it is an indictment made all the more effective because it is the story of a child. The essential humanity of Karen's delivery and the catchy, almost nursery- rhyme quality of the chorus make this an instant classic.

"A Point On The Map" is also a standout track. A life cycle poem in song, it traces the hopes and expectations of our pioneers in a simpler time. Many of the songs, such as "True Heroes", based on the story of an abused, but eternally stoic woman with whom Karen worked, have been written from Karen's experience as an itinerant rural worker in Britain and Australia. In part, it is this "shared" experience that is the key to the authenticity and accessibility of much of her work.

For those who remember the simplicity, honesty and directness that infused folk music in the early sixties (before the turgid navel gazing introspections of 1970 "hippiedom" took over) tracks like "One More Day" and "As Time Rolls By" may well restore your faith in the form. For those of you who need comparisons to survive, imagine a cross between early Simon and Garfunkel and Suzanne Vega minus the "cool" pretentiousness and you're getting close.

On the production side, Gavin O'Loghlen of Locrian Records has adopted a "less is more" approach which was exactly the right decision. Essentially Karen and her guitar; with the odd tasteful instrumental underlay or vocal overdub, the production is thoughtful and consistent, but never interferes with the subject. This album is a tremendously refreshing addition to Australian Folk.

Highly Recommended.

 

Pat Drummond

Australian Recording Artist

What the critics have said :-

"I first came across Karen Burton's work when I judged a songwriting competition in 1992. She came out a winner then and she continues to do the same now. Songwriters are often likened to other songwriters. The great strength of Karen's songs is that they sound like Karen Burton songs".

Keith Hancock - English Recording Artist

"This is completely delightful - there's a little bit of magic in every song"

Tom Hughes - UK Folk Radio

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