No Small Thing
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Lisa Redfern may not like the comparison and she well may have heard it more than just once, but she really does sound like Judy Collins ca. 1970. It's mainly the voice than brings up the comparison, although every now and then even the music proves to have that certain sweetness that was Collins' trademark. |
This is Redfern's fifth record and the first one since she relocated to California. But the music she's creating still seems to be rooted more in her former home, Maine, than in sunny California. It's an acoustic sound that owes a lot to to traditional folk, but done by someone who grew up on pop music as well.
It's the acoustic guitar, the dobro and Redfern's voice that dominate the sound, but there's also a stunningly beautiful violin solo by Kaila Flexer on Your 13th Year.
The memories of car trips long ago, when you still could hear Flatt & Scruggs on the radio are all over Route 52, a song that could easily fit into Kate Campbell's repertoire. Lisa Redfern's qualities are most obvious when she relies less on sugary melodies and shows us her grittier side. There's a wonderful version of Try A Little Tenderness, where a Redfern proves how versatile and funky her voice can be, the same goes for her own seductive Over The Top. The track that stands tall above all others is the bitingly funny Distractions: "I know a song is coming, I just don't know when/ So I'll write to Carly Simon and ask her what to do/ Tell her I always loved hot cakes and that I sing with a big mouth too," a magnificent torch song full of self-mockery. And last but not least there's the touching 'Your 13th Year,' a ballad written for a Bar Mitzvah. Just beautiful, no more, no less, end of discussion.
Lisa Redfern did an album that is sometimes patchy, sometimes uneven, but once she gets going there's no stopping her. And when she's good, then she's more than that, then she's just strikingly superb.