This disc surprises (pleasantly) right from the git-go. There is the picture on the cover of the disc of a red haired, freckled, fresh-faced country girl, and then, the disc opens with a tune that sounds as if it is out of the Cab Callaway song book (including muted cornet). The songs are sung with a voice that knows its power and reach, and is glad to stretch for new boundaries. It isn't until the song Tunnel that we get the least hint of country, and that is because here she picks up her banjo and moves the song in that direction. She writes all her own songs, and they range from jazz, to western swing, to blues, to country to back in the hollers old time Appalachian tunes, and they are all strong separate stories that are concise and linear. She tends to keep her songs more in the jazz tone, even when the feeling is country the phrasing is more that hipster jazz of the Cotton Club. She has assembled a solid group of musicians (mostly acoustic instruments, only three tracks have electric instruments) for this recording that she produced (with, she admits, much consultation).
She comes from a family where music and community were important while she was growing up, father played guitar, and her mother was a dancer. The music in the house ranged from country, blues, gospel, and honky-tonk, and the family was always singing along. She sings with a confidence that comes from having had strong support for her singing throughout her life. With the songs she writes and the range of her voice, I look forward to future offerings from this versatile singer.
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