When it comes to signing hugely promising and fully realized female singers/songwriters, you have to hand it to Jim Olsen and his A&R staff at Signature Sounds.
Think about it: stalwarts Patty Larkin, Lori Mckenna, Caroline Herring, Kris Demholst. Then you have the relative newcomers, roots/country queen of the minor key Eileen Jewel; Seattle's own Zoe Muth (un-arguably the finest songwriter of New Depression songs out there); NYC's brazen, genre-breaking chanteuse Miss Tess; and now, from Northampton, MA, the literate and divinely quirky Heather Maloney.
Maloney's Signature debut is her third disc overall (adjectives used for 2011's Time and Pocket Change and 09's Cozy Razor's Edge include "arresting, stunning, best of 2011, unfettered, and incredible") and it's a treasure trove of self and collective discovery.
"Wake me up when Jack and Jill / make the same amount of money / lugging water up the hill" she sings in Iron Bull a song written while visiting Occupy in NYC. This snippet alone should give notice you're dealing with a witty and perceptive writer, but prior to that is the disc's emotional center Dirt and Stardust a hybrid folk offering that gives us "I am made of the same stuff / that makes the seasons what they are / I am made of / dirt and stardust / my daddy's dreams, my mother's heart." Yes. And yes to Flying on Helium and Grace; the delightful Zen of Flutter; and the effortless character study Darlene and the perky Miss Mary Mack.
If you go to heathermaloney.com, you'll read all kinds of journalists falling over themselves to pick out influences and who Maloney does or doesn't sound like and other well meaning platitudes. I'm not going to bother any of us with any of that. Give the disc a listen and then look again at Signature Sounds artists roster. Heather Maloney belongs right up there. And you belong right alongside her, listening…
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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