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HEATHER LYNNE HORTON —DON’T MESS WITH Mrs. MURPHY (At The Helm Records)

http://www.heatherhortonmusic.com

http://www.atthehelmrecords.com

Formerly in The Westies, and a founder member (playing fiddle and vocals, plus writing songs) alongside her husband Michael McDermott has waited seven years while raising her first born to record her sophomore album (follow-up to her 2010 debut, Rain). Horton’s cultured songwriting and music is a mix of folk pop and rock, and with her songs dealing with subjects affecting women; everyday challengers faced included have her weave an intriguing tapestry of thoughts and sound. The album was recorded in Nashville and is produced by musician Lex Price, and with her combining music with audible mystical art her music tends to drift opposed to urge the listener to get up and dance.

Born in Hawaii, but raised in the Midwest, Chicago’s Horton’s taste for darker foreboding sounds is more evident on some tracks than others. As is the case on “Wheelchair Man”, her concern for the less fortunate, and those suffering both physically and mentally has seen her come up with an album awash in attitude.

There are also more hip moments as in the lilting hypnotic sounding “Did You Feel That?” before she returns to the wistful, and I have to say beautiful “Save The Rain”. It in turn is followed by the nicely produced, percussion driven “Boomerang”. Yet, it is with her songs, tracks six and seven respectively “Flesh And Blood” and “F.U” plus the less intense, more artful “Pauper Sky” she really shows off her talent (that had me gain the urge to press repeat a number of times!). The latter though adequately coloured instrumentally there is a beautiful, spacious feel to entice the listener ever closer to her vocals. As for the former pairing she doggedly forces herself through hard times (“Flesh And Blood”) as she propels the song with the theme of ‘shame on you’ as she mournful reflects on neglect and injustice. “F.U” has her vocally in arguably the best form on the record. As for the lyrics she is decidedly sharp too with such lyrics as 'Jolene has got nothing on you. Whores and loan sharks also get a mention as she sings 'You are packing heat in the sole of your shoe. You stayed in a car in front of our house and you hired hit man, but he is my cousin. He offered to off you but I declined politely. With her clever off the wall entertaining lyrics Horton underlines he talent as a writer. A shrewd at that. 


Maurice Hope

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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