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Few things put my heart in a headlock (thank you, Ms. Heap) like the sound of a woman’s voice gently lilting over a bed of a delicately plucked acoustic guitar. I am a fiend for the folk movement of the 60’s and 70’s; thus, when I encounter sympathetic souls in my travels they make a tangible impact on my listening activities. That said, Paige Chaplin shook the needle off my seismograph.
There is a rare and beautiful sentiment that lives in the soul of Ms. Chaplin that gets funneled into every solitary note of her songs. It may sound jilted, wounded or painfully exposed, but her delicately delivered eloquence glistens in spite of the sorrowful subject matter. Paige has such a wonderful sense of melody that she’s able to captivate your ear with nothing more than her voice and a gently finger-picked acoustic guitar. There are no frills of conventionally engineered music to speak of. There aren’t 20 tracks of overdubbed backing vocals… no symphony orchestra swells to augment poignant moments. Her 2012 release, He Has Gone, Said Her Heart, much like the sentiment it encapsulates, is bare-boned, naked and vulnerable.

We’re brought painfully close to Paige with this collection of songs. At the end of, “Hit the Ground,” we are met with a trembling inhalation, denoting how much Chaplin surrenders with each of her performances. In fact, she so expertly executes the more-often-than-not unadorned elements of vocal and guitar that you don’t feel the compositions are lacking at all.
The dynamic surges and swells of each track are very well captured on the record, making it feel like a breathtaking live performance unraveling rather than a produced album. This is a rare commodity in the modern music industry, where the bells and whistles seem to receive more emphasis than the genuine performance of the artist. Auto-tune is so prevalent it’s even employed by many acts during their live shows. I heard a street performer on Mill Avenue here in Phoenix utilizing auto-tune via a small PA no less than a month ago. It is a true testament to her skill as a performer that these tracks sound so flawless, and is also a testament to her work as an engineer that they sound professional and stunning without feeling, well, engineered.
There are brilliant and vivid images conjured with her flowing prose, with cleverly constructed phrases like, “There’s a cork in my throat when you walk in the room,” conveying a wealth of emotions in a solitary sentence. This record is teeming with these moments, insightful and self-aware observations about the emotional turmoil of falling in and out of love. Yes, we’ve heard myriad love songs over the years— with all matter of voices and various styles to convey the same emotions… but Ms. Chaplin is certainly the X-factor in this equation. Her unique delivery and execution of her expressions imbue the material with a sense of originality that easily ensnares the ear.
If you are in search of a soft, introspective set of songs to play the undercurrent for an evening this album is a must listen. It will transport you to a time where the importance of an album was in its sentiment and spirit, not its cover art and accompanying videos.
He Has Gone, Said Her Heart,  is a record of substance and soul— not just another gimmick to pry your hard earned dollars from you. To prove this sentiment, you can pay as much or as little as you’d like to procure the record from her BandCamp page. “It didn’t cost me anything to make, so I’m not asking for anything,” Paige remarks.
It’s refreshing to find an artist who places on the emphasis on their music simply finding an audience instead of ardently seeking financial remuneration as their chief aim. I’m certain it will pay out in spades for Ms. Chaplin— because her material is certainly worth paying for.
For fans of: Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, Laura Marling, Joan Baez, Chantal Kreviazuk

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