In the grand scheme of things, debut albums are horrible conundrums for most artists. They want to assert themselves, sound like themselves, but so many—far better, far worse, and far more far more forgettable—have come and gone before them. So what's a young singer/songwriter to do?
Well in this case, she kicks things off with the extremely catchy and radio-ready, though too-Lucinda sounding Change My Mind, then, with the very next song, the jaunty City Lights, RoseAnn Fino delivers RoseAnn Fino: a brash, full-throated old-schooler sporting a thoroughly refreshing convergence of roots rock & badass, New York street smarts. "I used to lay inside the imprint your body made" she sings in the first song, only to all-too-convincingly admit in the second "I am trying so hard to stay true." Her guitar, alongside guitarist John Platania (Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt) and producer/keyboardist Professor Louie (Rick Danko,Graham Parker) rock 'n rollick this standout track. Fino's mandolin and Louie's sprightly accordion color the shuffling, Band-like You And I—a city saga of lovers "always looking for a fight"—but when the couple starts screaming, the vocals go all girl groupy la-la-la. Go figure.
Fortunately for us all, Fino's got a guerilla's grasp on who she is, so little gaffs like that (and the out of place reggae sounding Murder Song or letting the band drown her out on the Little Feat-ish bonus jam Sink Your World) don't slow her down. With her ukulele in tow on the beguiling Seventies Trousers, she follows a guitar player dressed in the title attire home from a bar talking about "Shelley and Keats / and all the books I'll pretend I read." From the punk-moshed, country tangle of Hallways we arrive at Roseann Fino's emotional core: Boxed Wine. Dad and daughter—now a freewheelin' young woman—sitting at the family table "I want you to realize there's nowhere I'd rather be / than sittin' in the kitchen, drinkin' boxed wine / Bob Dylan singin' I shall be free . . .making sure we'll be okay." It's the kind of song that, in the hands of lesser talents, could have gotten real maudlin real fast, but doesn't. And that alone, not to mention the wise-beyond-her-years Packed Up and the driving My Good Friends ("I might have loved you / but I love no one as much as New York") coupled with the rootsy swing of drummer Gary Burke (Joe Jackson, Bob Dylan), bassist Frank Campbell, and vocalist/percussionist Miss Marie, deserves high marks and a huge sigh of relief from critics and listeners alike.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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