Missoula poet Nicole Dunn has released her first spoken-word album that’s at times sassy, sarcastic and humorous. She’s a stepmother, a part-time nanny, the director of Open Way Mindfulness Center, and involved in many community causes. All of this has given her astute observations.
Sometimes she speaks rapidly, or elongates and slows words for effect, half-singing, half-speaking. She uses a breathy voice with a snippet of falsetto thrown in. She also bends notes, raps and rhymes, or lets her voice tremble, as in “Ache,” about living with a mother fighting alcoholism.
“Dear Liberal Parents” finds her wagging her finger at those whose childrearing makes her impatient. “Sometimes, being liberal-minded is a fancy way of saying ‘lazy-ass parenting,’” she says conversationally.
“Small Talk” is a comical diatribe against senseless chattering, yet she realizes that’s how we first communicate with others. And in “No Autographs, Please,” Dunn dispels the notion that “stepmom is only a title that’s given and not earned.” She goes on to proudly extol its virtues, spoken from experience.
In “Moment,” Dunn speaks to those who focus on the busyness and distractions in life, missing the big picture.
It’s bluesy and rappish. She asks inquiring questions like, “Am I watering this moment with compost or trash?”
“The joy of life is full throttle or bust,” she says, stretching words like “joy” and “slow down.” That’s good advice for us all!
– Mariss McTucker