‘Wink at July’
Rachel Garlin (Tactile)
4 stars out of 5
There’s an old adage that says those who can’t do teach. Bay Area native Rachel Garlin has proven, without question, that such thoughts are not only dismissive and disparaging but flat-out wrong. After college, Garlin spent five years teaching elementary and middle school, always encouraging her students to follow their dreams. When the kids asked the fledgling singer/songwriter why she wasn’t following HER dream of a career in music, the words hit home. Garlin promptly quit her job and hit the road.
Fifteen years and five albums later, Garlin is an acclaimed performer on the modern folk circuit. She brings her ear-pleasing mix of folk, rock, pop and bluegrass to latest effort “Wink at July,” a terrific gathering of tunes that deserved to be heard by as many people as possible. It’s the long-awaited follow-up to 2008 release “Bound to Be Mountains” and finds the former teacher on top of her game.
Opener “Gwendolyn Said” is inspired by the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, and Garlin also impresses with “Hey Keith Haring,” “The Winding Road,” “The Sea You See,” “Up on a Ladder in Boots,” “Flying Together” and “Dear Friend.” If you’ve yet to discover Garlin’s music, “Wink at July “ is the perfect place to start. (Jeffrey Sisk)