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.
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