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           I was actually itching to play the previous Krista Detor album when this new one arrived in the post. There’s a unique quality to her music making, a combination of voice, imagery and piano-based arrangements that add up to a warm, rich aural experience not quite like anyone else I can think of. This music makes for an escapism that carries you off into a dreamy sort of world where there are no sharp edges to jag you. It’s four years since the last album but she’s back with a cracker, packed full of music that intrigues and seduces, with layer after layer of gorgeous detail to be uncovered by repeated listening.

           A large team of collaborators and an enormous amount of care has gone into producing Flat Earth Diary; Krista says she calls it her bass album, given that there are no fewer than six different bass players appearing. Certainly, warm resonating bass notes fit her sound very well; her voice is a little lower than most women singers you hear and she uses close harmonies quite a lot to enhance the warmth she naturally produces. The most telling moments are sometimes the quietest and there are many times across this album where the world seems to stop breathing for a few seconds as she draws the beauty out of a few simple notes. To listen to music that can embrace that simplicity and then glide into something multi-textured and complex is pretty wonderful. Track 1, Ferryman’s Dream, takes us straight into that multi-textured beauty; piano, voices, strings, guitar and gorgeously sinuous bass weave around each other in an elegant dance that gently seduces us before leaving us with our focus back on the singer and her song. There are plenty of gentle hooks scattered across this album, more than I can remember in her previous work, but these are hooks that are elegant and playful, not really the kind of thing that’ll get you airplay on EarwormFM.

             There’s certainly a playfulness about the songs here; bits of wordplay, all sorts of cultural references lightly alluded to, and, broadly, a kind of optimism. Quite a lot of these songs seem to be about second chances, starting over again in life and trying something new and there’s frequently a smile in her voice as if she feels pretty rejuvenated herself. The lyrics are packed full of ideas and images in a way that leaves you free to latch onto a line that particularly resonates or to work at getting to the bottom of the story that she is telling. Either way, there’s lots to love in this work. Play it soft and enjoy the soothing balm of her music; turn it up and revel in every last detail of a masterly production. She’s over in Europe this month, touring in the UK from the end of April into May – her excellent website will tell you all. 

John Davy

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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