Album Review: Donna Ulisse – Holy Waters

Ken Morton, Jr. | May 11th, 2010

donna-ulisse-holy-watersSigned to Atlantic Records in the early 90s, Donna Ulisse first hit the country music scene as a traditional country artist. It was her reinvention as a bluegrass artist over the last few years that has brought her home to her roots, however, with her 2009 album Walk This Mountain Down winning heaps of critical praise. Holy Waters is a continuation of the traditional bluegrass sound employed on Walk This Mountain Down, the primary difference being that with this installment Ulisse focuses almost entirely on gospel-themed songs.

While the theme here is overtly Christian, Ulisse’s songs use nature–and the beauty that surrounds her home–as an analogy layered over the top of many of the tracks, with the title cut serving a perfect example: The beauty of the river described in “Holy Waters” is not only the “tranquil peaceful blessed water” that flows near her personal sanctuary, but the spirit and redemption that lies within her. It’s a celebration of her faith, to be sure, but also of the land that her God created.

The result is an album that is extremely passionate and obviously honest. It’s a tribute to her beliefs and steeped in Appalachian roots in heart and reference.

4 Stars

  1. PaulaW
    May 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Donna linked back to The 9513 on both of her facebook pages today.

    Her personal page:

    http://www.facebook.com/donna.ulisse?ref=ts

    Her ‘artist’ page:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/DONNA-ULISSE-singersongwriter/395670375379

  2. Rick
    May 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Its nice to see Donna’s latest album reviewed here so I don’t have to venture over to the Bluegrass Blog where Jow W. and his friends hang out! (jk…lol)

    Its a shame “Trouble At The Door” never caught on but its great to see Donna make the bluegrass comeback she has recently. Go Donna!

    Hey, where’s PaulaW to toss in a good word for her personal friend today? Hmm…

  3. Rick
    May 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Hey, how did Paula’s post leapfrog mine! I know her time stamp is earlier, but when I posted my reply it was the only one here at the time! Uh oh, Paula is a time traveler! (lol)

Tagged In This Article

Current Discussion

  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on Engine145.com. You're good at what you do, and The …
  • bob: Go Brandy FGL - Just go away.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton