HGR CD Review: Mycenea Worley

MYCENEA WORLEY – SIREN (no label) Her ability to pour out heart and soul through her voice and music made Mycenea Worley’s first recording, the 2009 EP Love, a strong and memorable debut that commanded attention and expanded her fan base. That fan base helped bring The Harrisburg singer/songwriter’s newest offering, Siren, to life via the public funding campaign Kickstarter; and Worley devotes the disc’s liner notes to thanking all those who pledged their support. On the disc itself, she proceeds to reward those fans and new listeners with a heartfelt, half-dozen song set. Folk, country and blues remain the key ingredients of Worley’s sound, and provide the foundation from which she explores and incorporates new elements into that sound. Her voice remains hearty and heartfelt, packed with surging passion and emotion as she sells her lyrical themes of creation, hope and despair. Assisting her in the journey are Badlees multi-instrumentalist Bret Alexander (who also recorded and produced the disc) and drummer Ron Simasek, drummer A.J. Jump and violinist Nyke Van Wyk. This musical cast enables Worley to bring her song creations to full fruition, providing the additional color and depth to propel these songs to ultimate heights. Van Wyk’s violin underscores and helps build “9 Lives” to a powerful, full-bodied crescendo; while Alexander’s slide guitar work gives a greasy, delta-bluesy tone to “That Is All (The Leaf Song).” The title track, Siren,” is an uplifting and escalating ode to Worley’s inspirational muse and what makes her create. “Locks” generates a tear-in-beer country ballad mood, and Worley revisits and re-wrenches her heart and soul on an update of “Low” from the first EP. For the finale, Worley strips her sound to the bare basics of voice and guitar for the sullen closer “You Don’t Know Me Now,” about the expanding gaps in relationships and communication over the passage of time. While her support cast’s arrangements help elevate the songs to exhilarating highs, Worley’s expressive voice and gift of songcraft remain front and center throughout, and the strength of her song creations and performance ultimately win the day. Siren serves further notice to the beauty and artistry of Mycenea Worley and her music; this siren again proves that she knows how to touch and move souls. (The CD can be obtained through Mycenea Worley’s website,www.myceneaworley.com.)