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A Wonderful, Life-affirming album. Superbly crafted songs from one of the key voices in 'ESPERS'(Of whom I would also urge you to seek out). The feel of the album is like a melding of 'GRAM PARSONS' and 'SANDY DENNY', high praise indeed and deservedly so. For fans of well written and well produced music who are looking for a little R&R!...ENJOY!
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on 26 September 2011
Meg Baird still rides the Espers time machine on this solo effort and transports the listener back again to 70s ethereal folk. A modern nuance, however, is the sweet pedal steel of Marc Orleans on track 'Share' [and opener 'Babylon'] which is otherwise bathed in gentle harmonies like folk legends Trees, and elsewhere Baird's confident acoustic is complemented by dobro and other electric guitars, like the excellent 'Stars Climb Up The Vine'.

'Even Rain' has echos of Joni Mitchell songwriting and voice, another one of the album's many welcome references/tributes to a folk past. Penultimate track 'Steam' is the most electric and slightly countrified, again benefiting from the Orleans pedal steel both as driving rhythm and then delicate additions. Closer 'Song For Next Summer' is awash with plucked acoustic guitar and Baird's whispery to bell-clear vocal variations.

The chorus 'Beatles and the Stones made it good to be alone' from the song titled after the first part of that rhyming line perhaps best sums up the ideal listening experience for this album: a quiet and meditative self-indulgence; a relaxation in the time-warp that is Meg Baird's 70s folk recreation.
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on 30 October 2011
Meg Baird came to prominence as part of the American alt-folk band Espers with which she provided beautiful, rich vocals against an often edgy and at times weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird set of compositions which hankered after the likes of Devendra Banhart, Vashti Bunyan and Bert Jansch. It's only mildly surprising then that Baird's more recent projects have shifted their attention to the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean with a very English and quite traditional folk sound; more Sandy Denny than Joni Mitchell that belied her American roots.

On this album Baird makes slight references to her roots in the United States through the use of pedal steel as a backing instrument on several of the tracks and through a few vocal and songwriting similarities to Jon Mitchell but overwhelmingly the impression is of a singer rooted in English folk. Baird's last album, a collaboration with Sharron Kraus and Helena Espval (the beautiful "Leaves From Off The Tree") explored the English folk canon through arrangements of traditional songs whereas on this album the majority of songs are originals, a notable exception being the somewhat obscure cover of the House of Love's "The Beatles and The Stones" - a not altogether successful venture.

The album is beautifully recorded with Baird's guitar and vocals right at the front of the mix. The mostly fingerpicked guitar is nicely played without ever being spectacular but the vocals seem to have a richness we haven't previously heard from Baird. The overall effect is dreamily beautiful although there is a tendency for the songs, without the variety of instrumentation or changes in tempo of her previous work to blend into one with this listener wondering whether the CD player had accidentally been switched to repeat on a couple of occasions.

A good album without ever being spectacular and it suffers from a certain sameness which could have been remedied with a couple of faster (or slower) numbers in amongst the mid-paced pieces. There is surely more and better to come from Baird and if she can maintain this level of performance it will be worth waiting for.
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on 14 December 2011
This is probably my album of the year. Striking, clear, expressive vocals. Folk leaning but the tunes have their own character. The occasional pedal steel in the background is the icing on the cake.
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on 5 January 2015
lovely voice, as expected from espers background, once listened to, you will want more!
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on 19 July 2015
Another great offering from this fine songstress. Gets better the more you listen.
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on 26 January 2012
I recently saw and interviewed Meg Baird whilst she was on tour in the UK promoting this album, and apart from being a humble, delightful woman, I also got my copy of this CD as a signed gift from her.

From the second I played it I fell in love with her lyrics and guitar-parts... not just because I'd seen her play them at the gig a few hours earlier.

There is not a 'bad' track on the whole CD, but the highlight of the album is the song Friends. Aside from this, Stars Climb up the Vine and Song for Next Summer are also infallible.

The music is very soft but Baird certainly proves that she can hold her own without the rest of Espers in this fantastic piece of acoustic folk.

People in search of some deep music without the intensity of Baird's efforts with Espers should buy this album.
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on 21 July 2015
Relaxing music.
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