Claire Lynch

Lovelight

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Claire Lynch's new album is a rare bird indeed. At one point, albums like this weren't the exception, but the rule. Twelve exquisitely written, carefully produced songs that bound along at a pace appropriate for their subject matter: life, love, and the conviction to get on with both. Only one song nudges the four-minute mark, and rightfully so. This may seem like a niggling observation unless you listen to a lot of singer/songwriter albums. Attention alt-country artists. All too often, brevity is indeed the soul of wit. Lynch, thank God, understands this. There's not an ounce of fat here. Each song is a perfect country capsule. She grasps that her struggles and foibles are hers alone and don't necessarily have universal significance. Her songwriting is mature and wonderfully, almost clandestinely sardonic. Check "Stranger Things Have Happened" for a perfect example. Lynch's intellect is sharp and encompassing. Patty Hearst gets a name drop here, and the fierce battle for Gettysburg's Missionary Ridge also swipes a tangential nod in the eponymously named song. Her voice is a pure, flexible joy, her choice of instrumentation spot on. This is a worthy chapter in the book that represents this woman's remarkable career. Think of Dolly Parton without the saccharine missteps or pandering, or Emmy Lou Harris if she actually was the songwriter everyone secretly hopes she is. This is a wonderful draught of cold, clear water. One only hopes there's a market for this stuff.

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