STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 28693-12822 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Trevor Raggatt
Nashville is chock full of talented female artists, each displaying some or other level of country tinge to their music. However, just occasionally one nudges ahead of the crowd. Sandra McCracken may not be a well known name in the UK, but her fifth album shows her to be a vocalist with that extra something that lifts her above the pack. The album's 11 tracks present an infectious blend of country-folk and pop, while McCracken's voice contains just enough Emmylou or Mary Chapin to give an authentic feel. Musically, twanging acoustic guitar and janglesome telecasters are the order of the day but without ever resorting to tired country clichés. The songwriting matches the quality of the performances, taking a thoughtful story song approach - "Portadown Station" evokes a particularly poignant feeling of the loneliness of being far from home and weighed down by history. Songs like "Gravity" and "Shelter" use subtly powerful imagery to explore spiritual things like finding a firm foundation for life and the Father's heart. However, all the songs here deserve equal praise. The album sounds stunning, due in no small part to the production/engineering team of Peter Collins and Ray Kennedy. The former has lent his golden ears to artists as diverse as Nanci Griffith, Gary Moore, Shawn Colvin and Rush while the latter is best known to his work with Steve Earle. But as ever, great production would mean nothing without great songs and a great performance. On 'Gravity Love' Sandra McCracken delivers on all counts.
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