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LYNNE HANSON —UNEVEN GROUND (CSR Records)

 

www.lynnehanson.com

 

Uneven Ground is Ottawa Canada singer-songwriter Lynne Hanson’s fifth full length album, and with it warmed in strains of blues, folk and country Hanson’s thoughtful songs, some more moody and earthy than others ensure her voice is given sufficient variations to work with. The album is produced by Scott Nolan, and has Chris Carmichael, MJ Dandeneau, Christian Dugas, Nolan, Jeremy Rusu and Hanson handling playing, with Joanne Miller on backing vocals, and on “Gotta Have Rain” William Prine, Rachael Hoogstraten and Annie-Lee PoFaith.

 

 

“Stronger” is a co-write with fellow Canadian singer-songwriter and producer of Hanson’s last album, Lynn Miles that glides, effortlessly. More earthy and, sounding like a song Mary Gauthier could easily have written “Broken With You” (Hanson – Mike Elliott) is arguably the best piece of writing on the record. Soulful throughout it is the kind of song that grabs hold of the listener with both hands. Following it in the running order “Dead Weight” picks up the tempo a little before she serves up the swirling “Swallow Me Up”; one of two co-writes with Linda McRae the latter enjoys some feisty guitar and a story (lament) of how her, and a crow played a little dangerous game. One where every time he blinks she takes a drink, and with the music likewise of this nature darkness hangs over the story. Their other effort is the equally fine, and perfectly placed album opener “Carry Me Home” as Hanson lays down the ground rules for Uneven Ground.

 

 

The devil and the blues go way back in folklore. Hanson’s song “Devil Said Do” suggests the relationship is far from over, as she draws inspirations from blues’ darker side. With mouldering guitar work and her earthy vocal style on the song it ensures she has a winner; and with a feel of longing she continues to strike big via “Every Honest Misstep”. Slow meander “One Grain At A Time” offers a mournful sound, one that suggest it’s best heard where you are feeling sombre, and the clouds like your spirit are heavy laden. Hanson’s final two songs are co-writes with Miles. “Just For You” and the measured, percussion and harmony vocals warmed fine slice of philosophy “Gotta Have Rain”. Strong and moody it quickly becomes, deeply entrenched in the fabric of one’s soul. A feat not too many singer-songwriters today are capable of.

 

                                                     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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