Muth's move from Seattle to Austin's hybrid hotbed seems to have cost her the retro/billy/country amalgam of the Lost High Rollers (though drummer Greg Nies has made the move) but it's renewed her formidable songwriting after last year's cover-full, stopgap EP, Old Gold.
I've said it before in FAME and in other media outlets: Zoe Muth is real time's finest songwriter, wrapping her emphatic, ever-maturing Emmylou/with a slacker twang around the hard fade of the working poor. "Mama needs a margarita/A slow song and two strong arms to lead her" she sings of a young mother and her baby eating from the same jar while Daddy calls from a roadhouse "sayin' he'll be late" . "I could watch the clouds for hours/ and never need to know their names" she forlornly recounts her life in Somebody I Knew, but adds "I've been living in my head too long".
And the music is classic country with new permutations and interpretations: cello, violin, late Sixties British folk rock, the Burrito Brothers, pedal steel, hell, even Ronnie Lane's sobering gem from '77—April Fool makes an appearance. In a nutshell, World of Strangers is a finely crafted, exquisitely paced work of distinguished color and complexity. Annabelle, Too Shiny, Waltz of the Wayward Wind, Little Piece of History and What Did You Come Back Here For? ("Listen to these old records that haunt our dreams") elongate the luxury of listening to a brave talent stepping into her own and hopefully into a wider audience.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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