Looking like a young Faye Dunaway crossed with Sissy Spacek, Nora Jane Struthers possesses an interesting voice that's much like a cross between Sandy Denny, an archetypal prairie pioneer woman, a bit of Frankie Armstrong, a faint touch of Melissa Ethridge, and Jacqui McShee. Like the chanteuses in Pentangle and Fairport Convention (McShee, Denny), Struthers immediately transports the listener back to madrigalian / Appalachian times and climes while, like Armstrong, informed by refrains even more ancient.
More, there's a mean mess o' fine pickin', especially by Scott Vestal on banjo and Brent Truitt on mando, not to mention Rob Ickes wielding guitar on a guest cut. Perhaps the most unusual aspect to Struthers is her untremoloed style, preferring a high level pitch that's like a delicate lonesome wire singing in the wind, an Aeolian harp on a hill overlooking a wide expanse of prairie. Of course, she kicks her heels up ever' once't in a while, as in Cowgirl Yodel #3, Stuart Duncan just as rambunctious on his fiddle.
I suppose the best way to look at this CD is to recall the old Village Vanguard days when folk was just emerging from antiquity to join up with the 60s and spawn what we now enjoy. This disc, had it been released back then, would've gone down just as well at the Fillmore as at the Grand Ol' Opry (and, hell, I can just picture Minnie Pearl grinning like a she-wolf as she catches Struthers' start in). Thus, think of Nora Jane Struthers as a preservation effort inside a sparkling residency amid the '00s and wrapped in artistry that transcends them both.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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