- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2004

Lisa Moscatiello and Rosie Shipley

Well Kept Secrets

Shipwhistle Records

Dulcie Taylor

Mirrors and Windows

Black Iris Records

The latest recordings from Takoma Park’s Lisa Moscatiello and McLean-based singer-songwriter Dulcie Taylor are vastly different, but the two vocalists share something in common besides their homes in the Washington area.

Both singers won 2002 Washington Area Music Awards — Miss Moscatiello as contemporary folk female vocalist and Miss Taylor for her debut recording, “Diamond and Glass,” in the contemporary folk recording category.

Miss Moscatiello joined with Baltimore fiddler Rosie Shipley to produce an achingly beautiful recording in “Well Kept Secrets.” Each brings out the best of the other in a mixture of Celtic-flavored fiddle songs — seamless amalgams of jigs, reels and polkas — and sensuous vocals that fit Miss Moscatiello’s alto voice perfectly.

The end result is an elegantly simple tour through mostly traditional-sounding songs, many with Canadian roots, beginning with a set of Nova Scotian reels; a Quebecois ballad, “Mon Cher Amant”; and David Francey’s “Flowers of Saskatchewan.”

Miss Moscatiello also deftly covers Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country.”

Yet her voice truly shines in the haunting “Here’s a Health to All True Lovers,” a Scottish ghost story of a song, and “My Father’s Servant Boy,” which combines two traditional Irish tunes.

Miss Shipley’s fiddle playing is honed from touring with the Willow Band, featuring world-class Celtic piper E.J. Jones, and guest appearances with the popular Irish band, Cherish the Ladies.

One exciting aspect of this recording is that it was accomplished live in the studio — a rarity in this age of pitch correction, overdubbing and digital loops.

Miss Shipley and Miss Moscatiello will be marking the release of the disc tonight in a concert at the Institute of Musical Traditions (www.imtfolk.org) in Silver Spring.

Miss Taylor casts aside any notion of sophomore slump in her second disc, “Mirrors and Windows.” Filled with pop sensibility and radio-friendly sound, Miss Taylor remains true to the artistic vision she established in “Diamond and Glass,” with thoughtful, revealing and emotional songs.

Unlike many songwriters who indulge in introspection, Miss Taylor uses the theme sparingly. In “The Woman I Used to Be,” she addresses herself in a full-length mirror, asking for guidance to bring herself back to simpler, better times.

In a voice that sounds at times fragile and at other times sultry, Miss Taylor moves gracefully in and out of urgent and romantic themes as well as between rock and country sounds.

Session guitarist Duke Levine takes up the electric 12-string and lap steel to great effect in Miss Taylor’s radio-friendly opening track, “Blackberry Winter.” Tinged with guitar strains reminscent of Roger McGuinn, it makes listeners sit up and take notice.

But Miss Taylor proves she has a way with words, as well. In “Maybe,” the singer is looking back on a failed love affair and the compromises it entailed. “Maybe the truth lies somewhere between the light of day and the shadow of a dream,” she sings.

Miss Taylor wrote or co-wrote all 10 tracks. Two of the songs were written with guitarist John Landau, who has been accompanying Miss Taylor on tour.

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