In Simple Soul
, former Fairground Attraction Eddi Reader presents a fourth solo album of clever, engaging examinations of life's troubles. Acoustic and folk-based, Simple Soul
gleans much of its power from a stripped-down production that throws Reader's quiet, earnest voice into sharp relief. The voice is at times reminiscent of Maria Muldaur ("Wolves") and Edie Brickell ("Adam"), the mood variously meditative ("Simple Soul"), reflective ("Lucky Penny") and restless ("The Wanting Kind"). She shines especially when recalling the death of her father on "I Felt a Soul Move Through Me"--one of several songs she co-wrote with Boo Hewerdine. But she's impressive as an interpreter, too, proving unforgettable on "Footsteps Fall", which declares, "The loneliest sound of all / Is the sound of love / Through a stranger's wall." Somehow, she manages to make all this sadness uplifting, turning it into a testament to the resilience of the soul and the power of music. --Alanna Nash
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