Buffy Sainte-Marie
Running For the Drum

Release Date: August 11, 2009
Produced by: Chris Birkett & Buffy Sainte-Marie
DVD Documentary Directed by: Joan Prowse
Format: CD/DVD



Matt Rowe


Buffy Sainte-Marie has enjoyed a rich career with many albums to her credit, as well as a collection of songs recorded by others.  On her latest album, the 2-disc (CD/DVD) Running For the Drum, she continues her contributions with a good album that has some excellent songs, sung with a strong voice.  At her age, voices typically fail many.  But not Buffy Sainte-Marie.  This album explores the environment as issue, as well as greed and ineffectual government.  But it also tackles love, heroically and overwhelmingly individual.  On “Too Much is Never Enough,” she crafts a '80s sounding Pop song that has good radio grip.

Recorded in Hawaii, Running For the Drum is an endearing collection of styles that range from the tribal opening track, “No No Keshagesh,” a poke at greed at its worse and most glutted.  It's a solid tune with a solid message.  On “Working for the Government,” she mixes an Indian-influenced sound with a danceable back-track, with a nose-thumbed disgust for the governing agencies of the US.

Tucked into the album is an able re-recording of an earlier Sainte-Marie tune, “Little Wheel Spin and Spin,” as beautiful as the original.  Her “I Bet My Heart on You” has Taj Mahal helping out on piano on a New Orleans-styled track that blends a '50s influence.  Her lyrically modified, acoustic version of “America the Beautiful” is haunting and will not leave your heart and consciousness for some time.

Much of Buffy Sainte-Marie represents a disdain for the structure of the world that we live in.  The fact that the world is filled with greed and the power-hungry provides ample material for Buffy to get out her magnificent voice and unleash on the wicked.  But her love shines through as well.

The album comes with a well-assembled 12-page booklet with full lyrics and notes, tucked into a tri-fold digipak.  There is the added bonus of a DVD documentary called Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life.  It is a cross-section historical view of Buffy Sainte-Marie with short interview pieces with the artist, and others like Robbie Robertson (The Band), and John Kay (Steppenwolf), amongst others.  The Greenwich Village (NYC) segment is especially rewarding.  It brings in Joni Mitchell, Eric Anderson, and other singer-songwriters that cut their teeth along with Buffy in that unique time.  With plenty of Buffy Sainte-Marie coverage over many chapters, it is a nice bonus that adds significant value to the CD.

Running For the Drum is a welcomed effort from the talented artist that has recorded for 45 years.  The fact that she can still release something as commanding as this says a lot, not only about Buffy Sainte-Marie's longevity but of her relevance as well.









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