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Folk country North Carolina singer-songwriter Jan Kramer has in Valley Of Bones a truly wonderful piece of work. Her songs are finely honed, and hugely evocative as she shares tales of life, stories that touch on her upbringing and, with her work steeped in top class dobro, fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin and upright bass plus drums, percussion, harmonium her songs, rich in homely values enjoy the perfect platform.
Asheville, NC Valley Of Bones is Kramer’s third album. Her mentor Mary Gauthier no less gives the record the thumbs up. Kramer is beginning to reap the critical acclaim she justly deserves. Her consistently is top classs, the moment she kicks the project away with Hymn the listener can’t help but drawn to her music, as she tries to place a handle on the meaning of life. As she speaks of how her hippy mother did not force her, as a child to go to church but encourage her to be creative. As a result she found God was present in things living around her.
Standout tracks to go with, Hymn include the most entertaining Waffle House. The infectious toe tapper has her travel from Cheyenne to South Caroline by way of the Badlands of South Dakota as she looks for a man to fill up her plate (like a Waffle House breakfast). Kramer is forever, painting simple but as the same time intriguing and inviting vignettes. I’ll See You Crazy & Raise You Mine likewise has a bouncy rhythm as she speaks with no little humour of a relationship between a husband and wife. How after downsizing their home to one hundred and fifty square feet have their own firework display. No need to wait till the 4th of July. Title track Valley Of The Bones offers much sensitivity as she speaks of death, grief and miscarriage and, with sweet fiddle in the mix her descriptive lyrics are giving the support deserved. Others of note include melancholy dobro enhanced ode, Macon County, Wedding Vows and with the beautiful fiddle and piano warmed Child as she speaks of now been a man of God, but a woman barefoot on her own you have another superb layer of material set to have you transfixed.
Kramer’s look at life is one full of solid thinking, and often witty. She never loses sight of the fact the listener needs to be able to relate to or be fascinated by her lyrics and at the same time entertained. Not an easy task, but Kramer ticks all the boxes. Players on album include her co-producer Chris Rosser (acoustic, electric guitar, octave mandolin, harmonium, keyboards, harmony vocals), Eliot Wadopian (upright bass), Billy Cardine (dobro; it is given lots of room to roam), Nicky Sanders (fiddle player in The Steep Canyon Rangers), Franklin Keel(cello), River Guerguerian (drums, percussion) and Allison Hall (harmony Vocals). Here is an artist I will be forever checking out to see what she is working on, and expect nothing but the best!
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