Hearing the voice of Lera Lynn on the album was both a first and a delightful experience. All too many new fledgling acts are built up as being the best since sliced bread but in reality they are at best, average. Sadly more often than not I would go a step further and offer forgettable. Yet as already mentioned that wasn’t the case with Lera Lynn. Not only did one or two songs catch my attention the first time through but the others after a couple of spins also proved to be the business. Her music is true blue Americana, country, folk and, are all in there while her voice contains shades of Kelly Willis on the opening ‘Whiskey’ plus there is a darkness akin to the music of Oh, Susanna (and some Gillian Welch in her songwriting; as in ‘Bobby, Baby’) as she pours out her soul as she finds herself unsure if she is coming or going. Changing it, totally ‘Happy Ever After’ possessing some rustic acoustic sounding acoustic guitar and playful rhythmic bass, foot stomps and an infectious quirkiness.
‘Bobby, Baby’ is a sensitive affair speaking of how Bobby travelled a road that was hard and uphill, and had a brother who died by own his hand and a wife tried who for so long tried to hold him together. Plus their other disturbing facts as Lynn keeps to lyrics filled with darkness on telling the tale of poor Bobby. ‘Good Hearted Man’ has a great deal of sass, lots of lead guitar and fiery lyrics enough to blow the lid off (and is over all too quickly). On the subject of fire you have ‘Gasoline’ that alternates between a punchy and gentle beat. ‘Paper Anchor’ has her sing with much passion and angst to obtain a fine balance between reality and dreams. The only song not written by Lynn is a classic effort from Canadian master Leonard Cohen, ‘I Tried To Leave You’. Awash in gritty, soul-bearing vocals she nails the song! ‘For The Ride’ is a moody train song that speaks of how she has been on a journey, and is on her way back to face up to her come actions. Escorted by moody electric guitars (Lynn; she also plays Rhodes piano, acoustic guitar and stomps her feet on the record) the sombre tale steeped in dark, foreboding tones has such lyrics as ’put me in a box and toss me over the bridge and the fish may make something more of me’. It is like she is resigned to failure as she asks to be carried back home on a journey to lose the pain. What the piece is about you had best ask her. It could and is likely all about a break-up!
To close, Lynn to the accompaniment of guitar, viola (Karolyn Marie Troupe), bass, percussion (Robert Handley) and drumming (C. K Koch) blasts through ‘You And Me Alone’ to leave the listener thirsty for more form her and there is more due (she was back in the recording studio in May).
Watch out for UK July dates; Gateshead SummerTyne Americana Festival is one.
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