Terri Clark

Roots & Wings

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AllMusic Review by

There are many things to celebrate on Roots & Wings, Terri Clark's second self-released, self-produced offering on BareTrack Records. No longer distributed by Capitol, Clark's really going it alone here, partnering instead with the great independent distributor The Orchard. This set not only proves but underscores in bold that 2009's excellent Long Way Home was no fluke: Clark knows her own strengths better than any Nashville producer. She has assembled a stellar class of pickers, and wrote or co-wrote all but one cut. The sound is contemporary country but, as the title implies, there's a traditional bent here as well. Roots & Wings is simultaneously searing and personal, ebullient and defiant. Four of the finer songs on this set were co-written with ex-Sugarland member Kristen Hall, among them the stellar, folkish "Flowers in Snow,” the more commercial but nonetheless hard roots track “Beautiful and Broken,” and the radio-ready “Breakin’ Up Thing.” Even when pushing herself beyond her comfort zone, as on “We’re Here for a Good Time” with its solidly retro pop feel, she delivers full bore and soars above the hooky chorus. Clark can sing -- and write -- honky tonk with the best of them and displays it on the hard country of "Lonesome's Last Call," a barroom weeper par excellence. Alison Krauss' voice and fiddle appear on the midtempo ballad "Smile," dedicated to the memory of Clark's mother Linda, who passed away recently after battling cancer. The closer, "Flowers in Snow," is the only cover here, a Celtic-flavored country ballad fueled by mandolins and pedal steel. Clark's throaty contralto digs deep into the grain of the heartbreak in the lyric. Roots & Wings has plenty to offer country fans. Hopefully radio will pick up on the album since there's more than enough to interest them here, because Roots & Wings is Clark's tightest, most focused recording to date.

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