Sisters Morales

Ain't No Perfect Diamond

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Ain't No Perfect Diamond was self-produced on a tight schedule (and an even tighter budget), with Roberta Morales dividing her time between the vocal chamber and a nearby cot as she battled cancer. The duo has said that the album has nothing do with the band's troublesome dealings with RCA. But its frequently bittersweet vibe -- from the regret-tinged lead-off laments "Couldn't Help But Love You" and "I Can't Keep Holdin' on to You," both penned by Lisa Morales, to the heartbroken candor of Roberta's "The Wheel" and the disc's fittingly titled emotional touchstone, "The Storm" (the only track co-written by the sisters) -- suggests otherwise. Given the highly personal tone and mostly Americanized feel of Ain't No Perfect Diamond, the two Mexican standards covered on the CD ("La Ultima Noche" and "Noche de Ronda") may seem a bit out of place. Still, they do underscore the beauty of Lisa and Roberta's harmonizing. Another asset is the input of true-country mainstay Clay Blaker. Neither of the songs written with Blaker's help -- "This Heart's Not Mine to Give Away This Time" and "Let Go of Your Heart" -- would sound out of place in the sort of healthy country music environment Lisa and Roberta have always envisioned. It's a place where sturdy songwriting, emotional authenticity and a strong sense of one's roots have supplanted the headset microphones, diamond-studded bustiers, conveyer-belt sentiments and studio-generated pop that mostly define Nashville.

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