While grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, I slipped Lantana into the player, wanting for a moment to move away from the Christmas music I had been listening to in hopes of keeping myself focused on the larger meaning. By the time Lay My Burden Down was echoing in my head, I was, well, focused on the larger meaning.
Separated by four years, Herring's follow-up to her well received 2003 release Wellspring confuses me somewhat. With her growing rep and the probingly intimate, contemporary murder ballad Paper Gown (where she recounts the frightening tale of Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who drowned her sons) I was ready for a gripping, fiercely substantive listen. But after the traditional Midnight on the Water (lyrics by John Croizat) and the shimmering Fair And Tender Ladies, Lantana becomes imbued with a latter day Sheryl Crow sameness. Yes, Herring's soothingly expressive alto is as it was on the first five tracks. The music, deeply rooted in the Southern soil, is as it was. Her eye for lyrical detail and fearlessness when tackling any subject matter is intact.
So my best advice would be to listen to Lantana (it deserves to be heard by as many as possible) and decide for yourself. Who knows, maybe it's me.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles