Call It My Garden is Austin-based troubadour Carrie Elkin's third album, but it's her first for stalwart folk label Red House, and hopefully it will help to spread the world to a larger audience about the sweet, subtle pleasures of Elkin's work. You can't walk a block in Austin without tripping over a gaggle of Americana-based singer/songwriters, and rising up from the mediocrity that kind of mass entails isn't easy; on Call It My Garden, Elkin manages it as much through her easy, organic-sounding vocal delivery as anything else. There's a distinct country tinge to Elkin's singing, but it's as much an Appalachian air as a Nashville twang -- it's easy to imagine her falling into a convincing yodel (though she doesn't). And the casual grace of Elkin's tone and phrasing are ideal for the rootsy sound that is her stylistic home base. Elkin's songs themselves are well served by her folk/country croon, too -- she deftly avoids clichés throughout the album's ten self-penned tracks, and even manages to breathe some life into "Iowa," a Dar Williams tune that sounded too precious in its author's own hands. It comes as no surprise to learn that Call It My Garden was recorded live at the home of Elkin's fellow songsmith Sam Baker (who is also apparently the subject of the album's "Dear Sam") -- there's a warm, homemade, analog feel to these tracks; they breathe audibly, putting the listener right there in the room with Elkin and her accompanists. And in the end, that's pretty much what you want on an album like this, isn't it?
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AllMusic Review by James Allen