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CD Reviews - Mieka Pauley
Mieka Pauley: Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes
May 2006
By: Lauren Jonik
album cover of Mieka Pauley's Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes

The term "road-warrior" usually conjures the image of a road-weary and world-wary bands, not a captivating performer whose voice is as smokey and soulful as it is smooth. But, for Boston based singer/songwriter Mieka Pauley, relentless touring has been an integral part of developing both her fanbase and her sound. Perhaps it is from delivering the five songs that appear on her latest EP, Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes, to audiences far and wide, but Pauley's voice exudes a certain poise and confidence that only comes from gaining experience both in one's craft and in the art of living itself.

In the first track, Stronger, Pauley goes from a purr to a roar as the song crescendos to from the last verse into the final chorus. We come back stronger / We come back stronger / That is all you'll see. . . Self-assured, this is an artist who stands firmly upon the ground she walks upon, whether it's in the depths of hell or amidst clouds of happiness. The Way It Is, beginning with vocals and guitar, before being joined by drums is the most reminiscent of Pauley's solo performances--- intimate and at times, almost confessional. I've never been good, anyway / At not saying things I shouldn't say.

Produced by John Alagia whose credits include John Mayer, Rachael Yamagata, Lifehouse, and Jason Mraz, Out of Car Wrecks and Hurricanes is decidedly more polished than Pauley's previous EP, but without compromising the authenticity of the songs--- a true credit to Pauley's abilities as both a songwriter and as a singer. Noticeably absent from the EP is Blunt, a song familiar to Pauley's live audiences that unveils her comedic sensibility and the realities of life as a working musician. Cultivating longevity can be especially challenging in today's music industry, but there is value to be found in pursuing your shining star in the present moment. In Faster, Pauley sings And I could wait until / I regained my balance and made the world stand still / But I would wait forever for my will to be that strong / And as I waited, the rest of my life would be gone. Aware of the impermanence of life, in the final track on the EP, Draped In Blue, she recognizes that even finding a sanctuary can be bittersweet. Even if I knew / A haven, it's draped in blue / 'Cause I'd have to leave / If not now, eventually.

But, in the moody The First Stone, Pauley sings My past won't leave me alone / That song, that song / And I can't help but sing, but sing along. And, sing she does. Beautifully.