This is prompted by the absurdity of the album only being eulogised once since 2002. Tributes to work of this quality should be posted at least daily.I am definitely not , in the round , a great fan of country music ( the divine Emmy Lou excepted ) but this is simply a superb album. The clarity of Cantrell's articulation and the seductive understatement of emotion are beautifully counterpointed by some of the most tasteful and inventive musicianship you'll ever be lucky enough to enjoy. It is really so rare to find an album in any genre that isn't padded out by 2/3 dud tracks but every song here is special. If you like good music don't hesitate about this one : it's simply awesome.
Laura is often compared to Nanci Griffith and Lucinda Williams, two brilliant ladies who sing music that blends country and folk - just as Laura does. While I can understand the comparison, Laura is, to my ears, a little more country and a little less folk than the other two. That doesn't make her better or worse than Nanci and Lucinda, but just different. In any case, anybody who likes one of them will surely like all three. This is Laura's second album. Laura wrote four of the songs herself, these being Too late for tonight, Early days, Broken again and a song based on the life of 1940's hillbilly singer Molly O'Day titled Mountain fern. There are several covers of songs wriiten by New York songwriters - Don't break the heart (Amy Rigby), Conqueror's song (Dave Schramm), All the same to you (Joe Flood), Wait (Jay Sherman-Godfrey) and Vaguest idea (Dan Prater). The title track is a cover of a song intended for the Wilco/Billy Bragg tribute to Woody Guthrie (Mermaid Avenue), which was dropped from that album when it was discovered that the song was not written by Woody. As well as Mountain fern and When the roses bloom again, there is furher evidence of Laura's enthusiasm for old-time country music via covers of of Yonder comes a freight train (Jim and Jesse) and Oh so many years (originally a duet by Kitty Wells and Webb Pierce). Traditional country is enjoying an upsurge in popularity, and it doesn't get any better than this. Laura deserves to be a major star. You can help her achieve that by buying her albums.
Since the whole `Americana` thing took off (actually, about 100 years ago) certain voices have come to the fore which have a clear, pure sound, usually in a country vein, but with a fresher, less obviously `Nashville` feel. The divine Laura Cantrell is one of these, heiress to the kind of pop-country that Emmylou Harris exemplified, Alison Krauss too, though with a quality that`s all her own. The much-missed John Peel was not only crazy about her - who wouldn`t be? - but was a friend too, and one can hear what he found so beguiling in these tracks. Too Late For Tonight is a terrific opener, followed by the stop-start catchiness of the irresistible All The Same To You. The rest of this lovely, and varied, album only confirms what the previous songs proclaim and what Peel heard (and saw, no doubt!) which is that this lady is someone special, with a voice (as I say above) like pure water from a mountain spring. She wrote four of the songs on this cherishable set of twelve tracks, and I also do most highly recommend Not The Tremblin` Kind, her debut album from 2000, the one which so struck Mr Peel. Laura Cantrell - somehow she sounds just like her name - sings like someone from ancient times who`s just visiting. A wonderful mix of the earthy and the ethereal, not unlike her looks, judging by the alluring cover of this disc. Beautiful.
Only purchased this album after hearing a snippet of her playing on John Peels xmas show. I'm not usually a masssive fan of modern (so-called) country music or that whole 'girl with a guitar' thing, but, the songwriting and her voice just defy categories. An absolute classic and particularly touching.
Like her debut, Not The Tremblin' Kind' this is a work of finely crafted beauty. As before, the musical arrangements have a perfect balance of subtlety and twang, the choice of material is consummate and Cantrell's singing is as delicate as it is tough and true. My personal favourite is her own 'Mountain Fern', a song that seems so familiar it could have been around for years yet is blessed with a freshness and simplicity that amazes me every time I hear it. Georgeous.
If you have a life i.e. listen to John Peel tuesday-thursday, you'll know all about this incredible modern country singer. There are some gorgeous songs on here - especially the title track and 'Wait'. It is heartening stuff, great for the Autumn when I tend to feel a tad melancholic anyway.