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Laura Cantrell - "Humming By The Flowered Vine"
CD Review by Jim Moulton

Well, this is a real time review, something I have not done in a while. Just put Laura's disc in for the first time and we are rollin'. Right off the bat, the sound quality on this CD is easily the best of anything she has done before, produced by JD Foster.

A little about Laura, this is her third full CD, I reviewed her last one When The Roses Bloom Again and her demo The Hello Recordings. Laura is like myself, a relocated Tennessean, the last song "Old Downtown" is about a revisit to Nashville and what it conjures up to her. Laura makes New York City home now. Laura is a finance executive, radio DJ and an active musician. She did a long tour in 2002 opening up for Elvis Costello. Laura is one of my favorite female vocalists along with Mindy Smith and Kelly Willis. Laura's radio show "The Radio Thrift Shop" on WFMU plays old country music and local alt/country artists. 

Laura has moved to Matador Records from Diesel-Only and this CD cover is loud, reminds me of the Mardi Gras, one of those cardboard fold-over types which are cool, real colorful, lots of red and a pretty pic of Laura sitting by a piano.

This is a combo of her own songs and friends songs. Right now I'm listening to a great Lucinda William's song called "Letters", strong drum track, but a rich, not edgy texture to the music. Strong lyrics. This is a great song with a great bass track and awesome backup vocals.

Laura likes to write songs of old historic country singers. "California Rose" is a great story about Rose Maddox of the Maddox Brothers. The tone of the acoustic guitars is brilliant. It is about Rose's struggle to leave the family band. Great Carter family type song. 

"Wishful Thinkin'" (Wynn Stewart) is a western swing honky tonk song also covered by Skeeter Davis, who died last year. It is Laura's farewell tribute to Skeeter. Some great pedal steel. Laura has a very distinctive sweet voice that has that old time sound to it.

"Poor Ellen Smith" (Traditional) is a mountain song complete with fiddle, mandolin and country acoustic guitar.

"Bees" is a sad song about an old friend in ill health who is knowing that time is running out. Incredible, indescribable production of sounds, "Wow". 

Well, the last notes of the last song are jamming it out. Laura sure has come a long way from The Hello Recordings and is an artist worthy of recognition. This is truly an enjoyable listen, every note. A sonic masterpiece, a perfect mix. I reckon my favorite song is the opener "14th Street" (Spray) , a country track with a more modern sound which reminds me a little of a song from her last CD "It's Too Late For Tonight". What a great voice. Well, it is too late for tonight for me, so goodnight. If you like Lucinda Williams or Kelly Willis, you need this, this is Laura's best work to date. 

Go visit Laura at www.lauracantrell.com.

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