by MIKE DAVIES
in ALBUM REVIEW
Concerns about any sort of fey dippy-hippie approach evoked by the cover on which Brent sports a flowery garland are swiftly dispensed when she launches into The Mirror, an earthy, bluesy number with twangy electric and deep acoustic guitar and a high but gritty smoky voice and delivery that’s earned her comparisons to Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and even Amy Winehouse. On the violin-laced tango chanson Don’t Tell Your Secrets To The Wind. I’d even suggest echoes of Bang Bang era Cher.
Focusing on songs about women bruised, betrayed and broken, though not always without a fire of determination, the album steers a largely bluesy course although you’ll also find a desert noir mood to Devil Again, a tequila dry Mexican edge to Lay Me Down and the backwoods folk of Dark Highway, a song with a chorus melody that’s a musical cousin to Last Thing On My Mind, while Already Gone nods to country roots.
Produced by Johnny Sangster, who also provides a wealth of reverb baritone guitar, the album also benefits from Calexico’s drummer, John Convertino, and pedal steel player, Jon Rauhouse (who does a particularly fine job on the sadness soaked Marrying Kind) as well as cello, heard to good effect on the soulful sway of When You Said Goodbye, courtesy of Barb Hunter. However, it’s Brent’s very distinctive sound and assured writing ability that marks this out from the crowd, suggesting we’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the future.