Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Penny Candy Love

Compact Disc Review

Penney Candy Love

Available from Kim Weitkamp at Email: Snailmail: 855 Atkinson Road, Christiansburg, VA 24073. $15.00, plus $1.00 shipping and handling.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

There has been a lot of buzz about Kim Weitkamp’s meteoric rise to storytelling stardom, but anyone who doubts that she deserves her success needs only to listen to this CD to put all doubts to rest. With this recording of stories for grownups, which celebrates the different textures of love, Weitkamp establishes herself as a double-threat: a talented singer/songwriter, as well as a first rate storyteller.

Weitkamp’s stories weave precious memories and delightful details together into panoramic pictures that take us on a personal journey into the very soul of family. Like all good storytellers, she evokes both laughter and tears, but her smooth, silky voice, impeccable timing, and dead-on anticipation of her listeners’ needs place her at the pinnacle of her craft. The listener feels like a trusted confidant, lending an ear to a friend who knows that sharing herself and the lessons she has learned are the best gifts one can offer.

Potholders recalls times when money was tight and a young girl had to be crafty to make some extra spending money. A great idea, however, takes an unexpected turn she decides to use a little white lie to advance her money-making scheme. Loving parents use discipline and love to settle the matter, and a song is born: Grease and Old Spice, a tribute to a father who works hard out of devotion to the family he loves.

WZIX, a story that Weitkamp wrote for her mother, shares nostalgic images of 1970 style houses, clotheslines, and children touched by the grown-up love their parents so sweetly demonstrate. When a radio contest offers a chance to win a gift for Mom, a ten-year old girl cannot resist. The result yields a touching moment that honors Mom and eulogizes Elvis with an innocent sincerity that will not soon be forgotten. As I listened to the end of this story, I thought to myself that the story would not be complete unless the listener could hear one of the gospel songs that Elvis had recorded. Weitkamp did not disappoint. Her rendition of In the Garden sent chills down my spine. A Song for Mom follows to bring the story full circle.

Love on the First Floor, set in a nursing home where Weitkamp was once chaplain, is a touching story of love in the twilight years, when life’s candle is slowing burning to its inevitable end. Life may end, but love lives on in the hearts of those who hold us dear, regardless of circumstances that lead to the journey’s end. Whippoorwill with its comforting refrain of “calling me to fly” is the perfect song to finish this story.

Penny Candy Love is a song born from the curiosity of a child who wonders what her parents do on those rare occasions when money is available and children are sent to buy penny candy. Its slick and lusty lyrics leave the listener hungry for Squirrel Nut Zippers and Mary Janes.

Weitkamp is a master at building bridges from story to song to story. Transitions from one to the other are so seamless that the CD feels like a long, enjoyable ride, not a bumpy trip with stops along the way. This feat is especially remarkable when one considers that this is a live recording.

This captivating recording will be a cherished addition to any story lover’s library. My recommendation: do not listen to it alone. Share the wealth, and your friends and family will know without a doubt why storytelling draws thousands of people to a little town in Tennessee each year. This is storytelling at its best.