• Bryon Harris

Vienna Carroll-”Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Hand”

Review by Patrick Joseph

”Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Hand” is a song with a its own motion and feeling. This is music that calls upon timeless traditions while injecting its own fresh, modern energy. Admirable swagger is on full display from angle on this track. From the the opening “talk singing” to the music’s ultimate crescendo, listeners are exposed to a refined artistic vision. Carroll knows exactly what she wants to communicate and does so with mastery.


Lyrically, ”Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Hand” creates a structure that is a perfect match for its musical components. “Singing with a sword in my hand lord, singing with a sword in my hand.” These lyrics create an instantaneous feeling of invitation, allowing the listener to feel as if they are a part of the music. “Prettiest singing I ever heard, way over on the hill, The angles sing I sing too.” Strength, faith, community, determination, and wisdom...these lyrics speak volumes with only a few finely crafted statements. Add to that Carroll’s soulful delivery and the song becomes a force of nature.


The arrangement of ”Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Hand” is phenomenal. Interesting percussion textures provide a soft road over which the music can travel. An expertly played bass line finds the rhythmic cracks in the acoustic pattern and compliments them. The acoustic strumming provides a driving, syncopated rhythm and a rich “two chord” harmonic structure. Interaction between lead and back-up vocals are intricate, wearing together and apart again with flawless beauty.

All pieces fit together to create a living, breathing work of art. Make sure you are somewhere you can sing along when you listen to ”Singin Wid a Sword in Ma Hand.”


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For more information on Vienna Carroll, please visit her website.


About Vienna Carroll It’s the fire in her belly that lights up the fire in your soul. Vienna Carroll's folksy blues and soulful funk take you back to church, back to the roots. The passion in her voice and her masterful storytelling fill a room, draw you in and hold you close. Vienna's larger-than-life performances channel influences from Ray Charles, Dinah Washington and her great-grandmother Susie Stokes' Wheatfield Church of the Living God.

Vienna Carroll’s new CD 'Harlem Field Recordings' is Black Roots music with a Serious Groove like you haven’t heard before. It grew out of her project Folk First: Black Roots Music celebrating the influence of early Black music on today's music scene. Vienna draws unexpected folkloric connections with contemporary artists and NYC subway candy men, noting specific historical moments in African American history.


'Harlem Field Recordings' features Vienna on vocals, Stanley Banks (George Benson) on bass, Newman Taylor Baker, (Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Henry Grimes) on washboard, Keith Johnston(Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Jon Hendricks) on guitar; and guests Nioka Workman (Anthony Braxton, David Murray) on cello, Melanie Dyer (Joe Bonner, Reggie Workman) on viola, and Henrique Prince (Ebony Hillbillies, Sun Ra Arkestra) on violin.

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