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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An assured, sublime debut.
This is a beautiful album. Laura's delivery is fragile, measured and emotionally devastating. The songs are filled with longing and regret, great sympathy and heart-wrenching honesty. The backing is sometimes jaunty, with a country twang, at other times it is hushed as for a lullabye. Fans of The Arlenes, Lucinda Williams and Damien Jurado will love it. I strongly...
Published on 29 Mar 2002 by J. P. C. Johnstone

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive new voice in New Country
It's not often you hear a new voice so distinctive you wonder you've not heard it before. Cantrell's sound owes more to Joan Baez than it does to the usual New Women Of New Country vibe: there are times when this album sounds as if it could have been recorded in the 60s, when first the lines between country, pop and the electric blues got blurred. It has a 'live' band...
Published on 23 Mar 2001


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An assured, sublime debut., 29 Mar 2002
This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
This is a beautiful album. Laura's delivery is fragile, measured and emotionally devastating. The songs are filled with longing and regret, great sympathy and heart-wrenching honesty. The backing is sometimes jaunty, with a country twang, at other times it is hushed as for a lullabye. Fans of The Arlenes, Lucinda Williams and Damien Jurado will love it. I strongly reccommend it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thankyou John :o) - Robin from Norfolk, 1 Mar 2005
By 
Robin Sidle "oich33" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
Yet another in the long list of artists I may never have heard of if it wasn't for Sir John of Peel, this is one of the most beautiful albums I too have heard. My personal favourite is Laura's cover of Amy Allison's "The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter". Having had the privilege of seeing Laura in concert makes this song, album & memories of Peelie even sweeter (pardon the pun).
Flawless musicianship, singing & songwriting throughout, this album is a pure gem. One of those albums that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to. Be also re-assured (as if it were needed) that her other material is also of the same high quality (When The Roses Bloom Again; The Hello Recordings).
So with glass of red wine raised, I say "Cheers John!" :o)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ditto. Thank you John Peel, 7 Mar 2006
By 
David Johnson "El Burrito" (Buenos Aires) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
John Peel was famed for unleashing ground-breaking acts on the music listening public that could sometimes go a little close to the bone. I´d like to think that regular listeners to his show remember that he had a little soft spot for female vocalists, especially when they sing as beautifully as this.
I was immediately struck by the frail purity of Laura Cantrell´s voice when I heard her on the show. "Not the tremblin kind," is a beautifully worded opener and it illustrates Laura´s beautifully understated singing style. "Little bit of you," carries on in the same fashion, again her voice is beautifully wistful.
My favourite track on the album has to be,"two seconds." I just love this song, the lyrics are so simple and the backing vocalist helps build the track really nicely, I feel strangely moved by the chorus.
Upbeat numbers like,"do you ever think of me," make me feel really happy, I can´t resist tapping my feet or humming along.
This is fine record. I´m not going to lie. I would never have bought this if I hadn´t heard her on Peel´s show. But then, so what? I´ll be buying all her other records too.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 20 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Not the Tremblin Kind (Audio CD)
A great pop country album. Wonderfully tuneful, Laura's melancholy voice is perfectly suited to this sort of album. I particularaly like "Two Seconds" and "Queen of the Coast". Proof that country isn't all Cowboy hats and truck driving. Buy more copies Amazon, so we don't have to wait over-long for such fantasic albums!!!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No-frills Americana, 6 Jan 2005
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
Although Laura Cantrell comes from Nashville, she is as far removed musically from rhinestone cowboys and saccharin strings as she is geographically, based as she is in Brooklyn NY. This is no-frills Americana country music, following in the wake of the Byrds and Emmylou, and is a gem of a record.
Laura modestly includes only four of her own songs on the album, though two of them are the highlights of the album for me, Churches Off The Interstate and Queen Of The Coast (no. 42 in the John Peel 2000 Festive 50), the latter said to be about Bonnie Owens, the yodelling country star who married Merle Haggard and took to the sidelines as his career took off. This album is about the songs, and many were discovered by Laura through her WMFU show Radio Thrift Shop, which she has broadcast from Jersey City NJ since 1993, and from friends and neighbours who are performers. The record has provided a platform for relatively unknown singers and writers, much as Emmylou Harris records have.
Not The Tremblin' Kind was written by George Usher, who had been in the Ministers Of Sound and in an earlier Minneapolis band called Beat Rodeo in the mid-eighties. Another member of Beat Rodeo was Dan Prater, who wrote Do You Ever Think Of Me, and was to play on Laura's next album. Joe Flood, who wrote Pile Of Woe, was in Mumbo Gumbo, while Two Seconds was a cover of Michigan band the Volebeats, and written by their singer Bob McCreedy. Laura's version made no. 27 in the Festive 50 in 2000. The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter comes from a well-regarded album by Amy Allison, daughter of Mose Allison, and Somewhere, Some Night is the work of Carl Montgomery, brother of Melba and Earl "Peanut" Montgomery, and co-writer of Six Days On The Road - a song I'd like to hear Laura Cantrell tackle. The other two songs were written by producer Jay Sherman-Godfrey (from World Famous Blue Jays), one in conjunction with Laura's husband, Jeremy Tepper, who runs Diesel Only Records.
The lack of pretension of Not The Tremblin' Kind lays it open to critical scrutiny as it doesn't hide behind over-glossy production and obfuscating arrangements, but it passes with flying colours thanks to solid performances, top class songs and a sympathetic producer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your normal kind ?, 16 Feb 2013
This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
Like most people I heard this first via the late and great John peel I remember the times when you would decide that his latest offering would have you shaking your head and reaching for the off button and then he would play something that would leave you rooted to the spot this was one of those moments, what I know about country music wouldn't cover a postage stamp what I do know is Laura Cantrells work is never far from my cd player and never tires and I've been lucky to see people's faces light up when they have heard her for the first time. The delivery and voice is never forced or strained but is allowed to gently absorb into your cerebrum where it will stay the instruments are plaintive and wistful and will stir your soul there are other albums that I see as musically more accomplished and can rationalise as why but this and her other albums seem to reach out to parts of my soul that others just don't I voted for two seconds and queen of the coast in the festive fifty and apart from mankind by misty in roots and dress by PJ Harvey these remain my only contributions these songs will remain with you if you let them and your world will be a better place for it
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Improves with age, 13 Jun 2006
By 
Duncan Evans (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
Like many others, I discovered this singer via the Peel tribute album. Most of the songs are sad and melancholic, but achingly beautiful in manner of Hank Williams classics. Particularly moving are Not the Tremblin Kind, Two Seconds, Whiskey Makes You Sweeter and Do you Ever Think of Me. Worth buying for these songs alone.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great record by any standards and in any age, 25 Sep 2007
By 
T. Davis - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
As I imagine most people in England did, I got to know about this album via John Peel. There were 3 or 4 Laura Cantrell songs in the Festive Fifty in 2000 and I thought that they were the highlights of that year's fifty.

It was sort of consistent with the theory I'd had, having listened to the Festive Fifty since the mid 80's, that if you got someone in it who wasn't a longstanding `Peel band' (e.g. the Fall, Wedding Present), wasn't a bit of novelty type band (e.g. Half Man Half Biscuit - and don't get me wrong, Half Man Half Biscuit are a top band), wasn't notably `extreme', or fashionable - in other words there was nothing to hang a liking for the music around, then they were likely to be top-draw. The best other example I can think of would be Dreadzone in 1995.

This theory is particularly apt with Not the Tremblin' Kind, as it's the most understated truly great album I've ever heard. Not just that it's fairly sparse in production terms - it's not that far away from what 3 or 4 people could play live in a studio. After all Robert Johnson just had an acoustic guitar, for example. But also because none of the emotion - and there's an awful lot of emotion in this album - is ever really pushed.

I've just written that it's understated, which I suppose you could say it is, compared to most music. But I'm going to directly contradict myself straight away, as understated is not really accurate. What it sounds like is someone singing the songs straight, not trying to underplay anything but understanding, feeling all there is in the song - in life. And here, perhaps, is the elemental quality that Peel was alluding to when he compared listening to Laura Cantrell to listening to Roy Orbison decades earlier.

As another (no doubt seemingly bizarre !) comparison, on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, on the track `Shadowplay' there's a guitar break that is perfect in its sparsity, not an unnecessary note. And there's just the same quality in the guitar break in the opening eponymous song on Not the Tremblin' Kind. There's something both exhilarating and moving in moments like these - exhilarating because of the perfect structure, moving because of the strong emotion under control - controlled for the greater good if you like.

One of the easier songs of this album to describe is `Queen of the Coast', as a good chunk of the impact comes from the narrative. The story is of a woman singer `pretty at most, but she could keep a room alive, with her catch in her voice and her beehive in her hair'. Well she doesn't make it and life becomes mundane, on the road with a `place at the back of the stage', `looking her age', gets her `heart busted up by husband number 2'. And ends up doing the `washing and ironing and picking up' (which is what the song should have been called if you ask me). Nicely put, but a standard country hard luck tale so far.

And I don't suppose the denouement is that original, but it's all about how it's expressed.

Anyway, she's in a diner one night and the `waitress comes up, with a look in her eyes'. And the waitress had heard her - decades ago - and could `still remember every song in your show'. And at that moment she realises that she's wasted her life.

Next line, `Please help me I'm falling' (the song has all been 3rd person up to that point). Laura Cantrell just goes on with the song, but in one of the next couple of lines it's difficult to make out the usually crystal clear lyrics - there's just the very faintest hint of control slipping. One more chorus and that's it.

First line, next song `Come on baby stop your crying....'. I've got the Festive Fifty recorded for that year, and Peel's words about Queen of the Coast; `As a bloke who cries far too easily than is good for me really, that song has given me more trouble than any other this year'.
Stellar as `Queen of the Coast' is, I'm not sure that it's the best song on the album. `Little bit of you' might get the vote from me. Of course not everything on the album is equally wonderful, `My heart goes out to you' is fair enough as it goes, but to my taste, before the end I'm impatient to get to `Somewhere, some night' (next song). However, a couple of things motivated me to write this.

Firstly, I read some reviews comparing this to other `similar' and more popular artists - if you liked that, you'll like this, etc. Which is fair enough, but I caught the implication that Laura Cantrell should be flattered by the comparison. Well - no.

In my view (and it's just an opinion I know, there's no scientific proof for this) Not the Tremblin's Kind is just about as good as it gets. Not just good as in `one of that year's best alt.country albums'. Good as in one of the best albums ever released in any genre of popular music. I've listened to a tiny fraction of the music that John Peel did, but in this I'm pretty much at one with him - the quote that is generally brought up from him about this is `my favourite album of the last 10 years and possibly my life'. But he also said he didn't really know why.

So that's my second reason. John's no longer around to bang the drum for this and perhaps people think that it was just an eccentricity that he liked it so much, particularly as he couldn't really explain why. Well, I'm not sure that I've made much of a stab at explaining either, but as a minimum, make that 2 eccentrics.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite soft country singer-songwriter, 18 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
Touching songs from Laura. Excellent backing musicianship, particularly the mandolin playing and the outstanding pedal steel guitar on a handful of these tracks.
The title track and track three are my personal favourites.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell Laura I love her, 5 Sep 2013
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Not The Tremblin' Kind (Audio CD)
This was Laura Cantrell`s debut album, and as such gave notice of a rare talent and a refreshingly unfussy voice among the pop-country sisterhood, being a younger, no less exalted musical sibling to Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith, Alison Krauss, and Patty Griffin.
No point in highlighting songs, as, even more than its follow-up - the marvellous When The Roses Bloom Again - this set of twelve songs works as a luminous whole, each one building on the unhurried feel of the last, leading onto the next lovely song. As with that album, four of the songs are written by Ms Cantrell.
Make no mistake, this lady is someone very special. And every now and then she`ll hit you with a nicely raunchy uptempo number like Do You Ever Think Of Me, on which she comes as close to letting it all hang out as she ever does (something I`d like to see, but that`s perhaps another story).
Laura C has a discreetly sensual way with a ballad, a little like her more downbeat contemporary Gillian Welch. She also sounds amused at times, particularly on the faster songs, while that clear-as-a-mountain-spring voice would surely charm all the birds from the trees wherever she chose to hang her hat.
The much missed John Peel fell in love with this record back in 2000, and became friends with the singer and her husband, even visiting them in the States, while she returned the favour. All of which only adds to the poignancy of these songs, sung as they are with such disarming, guileless grace by one of the most endearing, genre-defying singers to come along in quite a while.

Close to sublime.
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