Anyone familiar with the work of Fort Wayne photojournalist Ellie Bogue knows she has a good eye. With the release of her first CD, Lay Your Burden Down, Bogue proves she has a good ear as well.
The 10 songs on Lay Your Burden Down, all written by Bogue, alternate between Delta blues and folk tunes. Bogue plays rhythm acoustic guitar on the folk songs and dobro on the blues numbers and gets help from Ken Long and Michael Schwarte on lead guitar and Andrew Vollink on bass.
Photographers, good ones at least, need to find a balance between overall composition and intriguing detail in their subjects. The same holds for musicians. Bogue finds that balance.
With a crystal clear, soothing voice, Bogue relates tales of vanishing love, wrong-doing men and self-determination. Recorded in Fort Wayne at Tempel Recording Studio, Lay Your Burden Down is a fine addition to a growing cache of locally written and produced CDs. Tom Tempels mix lets Bogues strengths shine.
The disc opens with Pocket of Sand, a tune about following my own plan. Though shes only recently revisited the guitar and song writing (she played in high school), Bogue exhibits the skill and maturity of a well-seasoned musician. Pocket of Sand plunges right, highlighting Bogues fine sense of vocal phrasing and harmony. The tides of love flow bitter and sweet/ Id kiss the ground before Id kiss your feet /and all Ive got is a pocket of sand/ But I live my life by my own plan, Bogue sings in the songs opening stanza.
Good songs are hard to come by. Getting personal feeling to blend with universal emotions in a three-minute song is not easy, but Bogue seems to have tapped into a gusher.
Lines such as Knowing, knowing, knowing what I know now/ Im so glad, Im so glad, Im so glad I let you down/ Its one thing to walk away/ Another thing to break her heart from Could it Be, are almost Dylanesque.
Im not sure who Bogues folk influences are, but I know who she gets her blues from. I know because she told me. She said bluesman Corey Harris shapes the way she writes, sings and plays the blues. Songs like Good Morning Blues Revisited and Cold Wind reveal Bogues affinity for Delta blues, a style well-suited to the slight drawl she uncorks at will.
She copyrights the CD under Half Baked Dream Productions. It sounds done to me.