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  The Stairwell Years
Artist: Blue Lit Souls 
Label: The Blue Lit Souls (Carma Productions) 89577-13932
Running Length: 52 minutes

Chicago has another claim to fame---the Blue Lit Souls. This skillful group blends a l960s folk sound with a touch of fantasy and intricate lyrics that wind their way around your mind long after the music is over. Kathryn Swezy and Kris Spilker share vocal duties switching off from song to song in a harmonious blend. They are backed by such instruments as mandolin, accordion, guitar, conga drum, didgeridoo, and even specially tuned flowerpots. I imagine in their households, nothing is thrown away.

The Stairwell Years is the band’s first CD, and hopefully, won’t be the last. “Solomon Has Sung” paraphrases Song of Solomon from the Old Testament and gives it a contemporary touch: “The night is young, the moon our sun, our love’s begun.” "Stand In Line" has a great musical vocal blend, especially on verse two, which speaks of the love of the Savior and life's tangled {vines: "They will unwind to show the heart and soul of you."

“Wonder” touches the children’s story of the Sleeping Beauty when “love restored her breath and sight.” Lou Carlozo's 12-string guitar adds life to the piece. "Blue Lit Souls does its best work on the instrumental "Edinburgh" that segues into "Schoolgirl" for an almost eight-minute composition. There is Celtic flavor with the addition of tin whistle, didgeridoo, and drums. The last selection is "Be Still," which is really a song for peace: "Your hand in the ways of the world still astounds me / Capture all the hearts in this lonely sea completely."

The Stairwell Years is a welcome combination of inspirational lyrics skillfully woven into songs that reach everyone; whether the topic is peace Solomon, balloons in the sky ("To the Sky"), a girl trying to break free ("Katie Came Clean"), or St. Francis, the group doesn't miss a thing.

Copyright 2003 Marie Asner
Submitted 8/27/2003


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