By Mike Usinger, March 29, 2012
There’s an autobiographical feel to The Secret Language of Birds that makes you relieved the folk-leaning songs are as accomplished and expertly played as they are. How would you like having to crap on “Deloraine”, where singer Lori Paul delivers a heartfelt thank-you letter set to music to her Uncle Ralph and Auntie Jane, rural folks who evidently always had a spare bedroom for a confused city kid? Against a warm backdrop of easygoing alt-country, the Chilliwack-via-the-Prairies transplant sings, “I was a city kid, from a broken home/I arrived in June afraid and alone.”
Paul is anything but charmless on The Secret Language of Birds, which finds her backed by a couple of ringers, multi-instrumentalists Rick Genge and Clay Thornton. Together, they cover plenty of musical ground, from the mystical blues of “Betty Ford Brochure” to the skittery folk of “Letter to Louise”. As for the stories, even though she finishes things up with a gorgeous instrumental—“Still Life With Rose”—Paul seemingly has no shortage of them. Her greatest gift might be the way she’s able to take the seemingly mundane and turn it into something worth investing in, which explains how, against impossible odds, you’ll end up caring about the character known as “Roadhouse Red”, a hollowed-out chicken that serves as an all-purpose depository for car keys, old receipts, and doggie-doo bags.