Raw, surging primal power is what you feel propelling you along throughout this whole disc. There is a basic primitive, or feral, energy that surges through it. Whether the songs call for her to be intense, strong and raunchy, or more emotionally vulnerable, this singer has the demonstrative power to make the song very much her own and pour it out. She doesn't write her own songs, however she chooses her songs well, takes ownership of it and she makes it a particularly personal statement. She and Joe Henry, the producer, took the time to select songs that let her native talents blossom and shine through. Her singing is that rare seamless combination of blues, R & B, and country that is tied together with the soul of emotional passion that only comes when singing from the heart, She is blessed with a voice that has just that right rawness to do it with command. Just looking at the writers of the songs gives a strong clue as to her leading edge; writers such as Sinead O'Connor, Lucinda Williams and Dolly Parton who are known for their craft of songwriting. Then it comes down to what she does with these songs, adding her own experience. Listen to the Fiona Apple tune Sleep to Dream. Is there any way you can imagine Ms Apple doing that song? In a different way entirely let Dolly Parton's Little Sparrow play and the feel here is definitely not Dolly's, and yet every bit as vibrant and alive, just from a different side of the tracks of life. This is one of the grittiest and most natural displays of strength of emotion carried in a voice that has come along in a month of long cold winters. Don't let his gem slip past you.
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