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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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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