Amy Allison

The Maudlin Years

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Long Island, NY, native Amy Allison has an appealing way around a country song, from the plaintive timbre in her odd little voice to her lyrical sensibilities. She doesn't simply unravel these tales of heartache and booze, she occupies them. And like the best of tragedies, sometimes her vision is almost too sad to think about. (Consider the pathos in the lines "Our little girl is going on three years now/And sometimes it's enough to make me weep/For the only time she ever sees her daddy/He's face down on the carpet fast asleep," from "Holding the Baby.") The Maudlins are a darn fine backing unit also, knowing when to settle back (as in the near-perfect country morality tale "Whiskey Make You Sweeter"), twang things up, or rock out. New York City has always had a deceptively healthy alt-country scene, and this is one of the finest albums ever to emerge from the group of artists who cut their teeth at the Rodeo Bar and other such venues in the late '80s and early '90s.

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