The Graceful Ghost is the most gorgeous album from the 1800s you'll hear this year. DeLisle comes on like the ghost of Mother Maybelle or Kitty Wells (although sexier and more polished than either), and her songwriting shows ample hours studying at the feet of Dolly Parton (insert jokes about "the shade" here). A little research shows that DeLisle is an ultra-slick Hollywood voiceover queen and has released two homegrown retro-country albums prior to taking the big leap into spooky folk aimed straight for the O Brother! market. Yeah, I'm a bit jaded, but this album is clearly a fake and not afraid to admit it. (I love how the added ambient crackles and hiss on some songs fade out before the music does!) And yet, it's stunningly beautiful and DeLisle's talent as a singer and a songwriter cannot be denied. But she seems very market savvy/driven and going after a niche, I think; too often from head and not from the heart as it were. Still, it's far, far, far superior to the icky yuppie "country" slopped out on Norah Jones version 2.0. I wouldn't recommend The Graceful Ghost to anyone in place of authentic rural American field recordings, however I do think it stands a good chance to make my list for the best of '04 -- 2004 and not 1804, that is.