Land of My Dreams
CITY MAGAZINE - May, 2001 Review by Warren Kurtz 'For many years, Marian McConnell booked acts at Roanoke's Third Street Coffeehouse. You can still catch Marian and her husband Dan put on a show or two a year there, like one earlier this year featuring many of the fourteen songs on their debut CD. All the songs were composed by Marian, and the first song, 'Land of my Dreams,' was written with Dan. This one opens the CD with Dan's deep voice and a Scottish brogue fitting the imagery of a man in love with his home country and the country of his heritage. Burt Mitchell's bagpipes end the song with a touch of the traditional 'Scotland the Brave.' A majority of the songs are sung by Marian, with a clear voice, showcasing the lyrics that fill her stories. She is also an author, with her first novel 'Emergence,' being about her family's passion of caving. On this CD, Dan sings the catchy 'Vendor's Row' about the purchase of caving supplies in preparation for that journey. Like in her novel, Marian makes several Roanoke references in the song 'Sheila Wants to be a Cowgirl' about her best friend and the places they'll be together. There are at least three ecology songs included. 'Last Remaining Seed' deals with a boy's discovery of trees. 'Middletown' deals with groundwater pollution, and 'Trees for Every One' sounds ready for a classroom sing-a-long. On this one, Marian is joined by a pair of 9-year-olds on the chorus (Jenny Feller and Nicholas Socky). 'Dancing in Circles' uses 3/4 time to capture Marian's observation of Dan teaching their daughter Molly how to waltz. 'French Song' is sung beautifully by Marian on lead and harmony vocals in French, making it sound like a French-Canadian folk song from someone like Sylvia Tyson from that classic '60s era. Dan sings lead on 'Red Sky at Night' where he brings in a lower range, adding to the eerieness and authenticity of this tale. 'Virginia: Land of Liberty' was accepted in the Virginia State Song contest and is included here as a duet. 'Tinkerman' deals with a cave dweller legend and has an Irish feel with Burt Mitchell on penny-whistle. There are plenty of musical guests throughout the recording including fellow Southwest Virginia Songwriting Association members Greg Trafidlo on mandolin and guitar and Steve Langston on lead guitar and bass. 'Land of my Dreams' was recorded at Catawba Sound Studio'