Carley Arrowood “Colors” Album Review

Carley Arrowood

Prime Cuts: Colors, Chasin' Indigo, O the Blood

Overall Grade: 4.75/5

The strength of Carley Arrowood's "Colors" lies in her keening observations of life. Never a careless writer, Arrowood takes the time to look, observe, and contemplate before she crafts her songs. These nine originals (and one cover) show depth and dimension. Whether she is telling the story of a Cherokee girl ("Moondancer") or singing about God's grace in our trials ("Colors") or describing the sunset ("Chasin' Indigo"), you will not find overwrought tropes and tiresome phrases. Instead, you will hear her incarnating the characters in her songs and expressing their emotions in palatable ways. Speaking of her voice, Arrowood recalls Alison Krauss. Her angelic voice not only exudes strength, but it has a way of communicating vulnerability over her seasoned nuances. 

One of the album's highlights is the title track, "Colors." Likening our lives to a canvas, Arrowood describes how God uses different colors (including various trials) to create his masterpiece in our lives. The line: "His choice of color might puzzle you, but His steady hand is making all things new/Before we know, those colors magnify His grace" is particularly poignant. Equally colorful is the reflective "Chasin' Indigo," a rootsy ballad that speaks about enjoying the sunset with our loved ones. 

Not to be missed, too, is the radio-friendly "Deeper in Love." Augmented with rustic instruments, it is a catchy bluegrass romper with a late-90s melodic flare. Arrowood switches gears into a brilliant storyteller with the aforementioned "Moondancer." "Moondancer" tells the story of a Cherokee girl who sneaks off at night and sees a mystical horse running around. She tries to tame it but can't. She realizes the horse has a free spirit like hers. She can't tame the horse like she can't tame herself, so she lets it be and watches it from afar. Darker in its narrative line is the bluegrass cautionary tale "Silas and Cora."

Bluegrass purists who appreciate how fiddles and banjos can be used to make lightning-speed music and other unique sounds will love the two instrumentals "Tsali's Run" and "Molasses Ridge." The album's sole cover is Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe's signature tune, "O the Blood." Selah later covered the song. While the original is a power ballad, Arrowood's version is less cluttered and more country-leaning. But she does not shy away from investing into the song her love for jesus.

"Colors" isn't just an average bluegrass or Christian album per se. Instead, it's an album that canvases the critical issues of life, including faith, family, love, strength, creativity, and perseverance. On this record, Arrowood reveals these themes in her imitable, powerful, and vulnerable ways.  

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