A Review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jack Bohl
Laura Love's live performances are phenomenal. She is a wonderfully expressive and soulful singer and her band is tight. Together they produce more energy than BPA. Capturing the essence of her concerts in the studio presents a real challenge. Laura's self-produced first CD, Pangaea, did that surprisingly well. Z Therapy, her second self-produced CD, is another journey into funked up reggae, broken hearted country, yodeling, and acoustic folk.
Helvetica Bold starts off in overdrive with "A Ha Me Riddle I Day," and infectious, bouncy reggae number. Other highlights include the exquisite "Inside the Reason," featuring fine fiddling by guest Barbara Lamb, who shines throughout the disc. The folk classic "Five Hundred Miles" is yearning and heartfelt. "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" is delivered in an effervescent, funky reggae style. "High Divide Oh" features Laura's uncanny yodeling, accented by sweet country flavored fiddle, a soaring slid e solo on National Steel guitar, and Laura's trademark humorous and idiosyncratic lyrics. The country feeling intensifies on the cover of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," with more fine fiddle work. "Nothing But Kindness" is a touching reconciliatory letter to an ex-lover (or lost friend?). The disc closes with a wrenching version of "Wayfaring Stranger," sung convincingly and backed only by Rod Cook's folksy acoustic guitar.
This recording has variety, passion, funky bass, great acoustic guitar, exquisite fiddle and World Beat percussion. The sound quality and production are excellent, and all the lyrics are provided. So don't be put off by the shoddy cover art and obscure title: this is the next best thing to a Laura Love concert (or Pangaea). Laura may be on her way to becoming the Tracy Chapman of the Northwest.