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All American Bluegrass Girl
“All my life they told me ‘you’re pretty good for a girl’,” Rhonda Vincent sings on this album’s title track – a sly dig at the notoriously patriarchal culture of bluegrass, and at critics who qualify her as a “female bluegrass singer”.
But like Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton (who adds harmony vocals to the rocking Heartbreaker’s Alibi), Vincent is one of the elite artists in the genre – period. She’s got the awards and Grammy nominations to prove it, but mostly she has her voice – a flawless, instantly recognisable instrument that releases all of the emotion from durable gospel standards like Roy Acuff’s Precious Jewel and the more contemporary-styled Forever Ain’t That Long Anymore.
Her sentiments are nothing if not genuine – and she’s got the vocal and instrumental chops to bring those emotions all her way home.
The simple blues-informed pop charms of LA songwriter Kevin Moore remain unchanged on his eighth album. All 12 of these songs about romance and its triumphs and failures go down easy, thanks to his unhurried and unmannered singing, and arrangements that run slow and spare.
That openness allows Moore’s slide playing, perfected on the porch of Mississippi delta bluesman Eugene Powell, to add subtle, pretty decoration to tunes like Your Love and Eileen.
He’s got a sympathetic cohort in John Porter, who also produced Moore’s debut album.
Moore ends the CD with an ode to the pure and basic joys of life as a couple, reflected in a blithely primal trio accompaniment of crisp acoustic guitar, mandolin, and drums.
The buzz for Nelly Furtado’s Loose began before the music was even recorded, with the announcement that legendary hip-hop knob-twirler Timbaland would act as co-producer. The question on fans’ minds: what would it sound like when a hip-hop kingpin collaborated with an artist who culls inspiration not just from pop music, but also her own Portuguese roots?
As it turns out, Loose incorporates a number of different styles along its journey, but is primarily divided between ’80s-influenced electronica and Latin-infused pop.
This disc is very different from Furtado’s previous CDs.
Fans will hear Furtado at her vocal best on Say It Right and In God’s Hands – two of the most lyrically compelling tracks on the disc.