Reviewed by Adrian Cherrill
Regular Cross Rhythms readers will know that this Devon-based singer/songwriter has already attracted enthusiastic reviews for her live appearances at last year's festivals. Now comes Erin Starnes' debut album, produced by Paul Burton and including such seasoned CCM musicians as Matt Weeks, Dan Wheeler and Ant Parker (long-in-tooth readers will remember he once fronted those wild folkies Why?). The track "But You Say" is currently a Cross Rhythms turntable hit. There is some solid, if unspectacular, songwriting with lyrics that have a feel of personal worship, driven in general by Erin's own competent acoustic guitar and soulful vocals. The problem is that, although this is essentially an acoustic-driven album, it never quite seems to get out of second gear, despite threatening to virtually all the way through. Having said that, Erin's haunting voice and some good songs (particularly the brooding "City On A Hill", "How Could It Be?", "Eternity" and the closing "House On The Sand") register despite the rather flat production. You're left with the impression that just a little extra thought would have turned a good album into a very good one. But there is a lot of promise in this collection and if Erin concentrates on developing her songs a bit more, her next album could be an absolute gem. If you are looking for a gentle, roots-tinged album or a new UK singer/songwriter with the potential to go far, your search is over.
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