I get the distinct impression that Long doesn't sound as soulful and bravely gospel as she does because that's the trend right now. No, she comes by this deeply moving sound naturally, making Leaving Kansas a fine, fine listen away from the cookie cutter.
Another huge plus for this LA based singer/songwriter is that she sings the songs of a fully realized artist, not a myspace pop fop reciting her latest dear diary. Sunday Redemption—a true church rave up—and the gritty Pain and Glory attest to that.
The slice-of-life Brokedown' and the gorgeously crafted 'Too Much Mountain' second that emotion.
In songs like the jazzy, Van Morrison grounded Softer Now and the shimmering piano based folk pop of Simply, Long and her whip-snap band, especially guitarists Jay Graf and Nicholas Markos, backing vocalists Pamela McNeill, Mary Jane Alm, Allison Scott, bassist Chris Bates, and drummer JT Bates create a visceral sense of a triumphant now surpassing a stubbornly, clinging then. It is the Jackson Browne-like coda to the title track that makes me want to seek out her first two full length discs—2000's City Girl and '04's Every Little Seam'. Here's hoping that Leaving Kansas will be her deserving breakthrough.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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