Annie Gallup

Backbone

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On Backbone, her second album, Annie Gallup (1-800 Prime CD PCD 020D) has an innocent's take on the world tempered with enough hard living to give her writing an edge with heart. Her style is country-inflected intelligent folk-telling stories that come from a yearning spirit. Some are a bit elliptical, but her balanced use of specific images brings the listener in. She never ends up sounding too obscure. Annie Gallup has a good sense of pace so one has the feeling that she is confiding a secret that it is the listeners obligation to wait and hear. Occasionally, her lyric delivery is distractingly derivative of Suzanne Vega or Jane Siberry, as in "The Girl with the Flyaway Hair." Yet when she sticks to her own more melodic phrasing the songs are alive and come over honestly and openly as a fresh breeze. The arrangements and production values are all excellent. One song, "Fight the Devil" is ambitious, distinctively structured and ought to find a place as a standard in the world of contemporary songwriting. This album carries the expressions of a mature woman still open to the world. Well worth seeking out.

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