12 Arrows is a 12-song program that showcases vocalist Judith Owen in trio form with drummer Herman Matthews and bassist Sean Hurley. Owen also performs two great duets -- one each with Richard Thompson and Julia Fordham. Owen plays piano and sings in a velvety alto voice that endears her listeners with tasteful simplicity. On "That Scares Me," the harmonious duet with Julia Fordham, she pulls you into the song and beautifully cultivates the life experience that many have felt but never expressed. This ballad is sung in a highly personal style that Owen's listeners can surely relate to. With family and friends often the subject matter, Owen expresses her writing talents and musical depth on 11 of the 12 songs. Having written all of the music and lyrics except for "Black Hole Sun," she illustrates the same sort of compassion, understanding, and poetic witticism in her storytelling as Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell have so brilliantly demonstrated with their music. Overall, 12 Arrows is a radical departure from Owen's last record, Limited Edition, but it is consistent with the same high standards set with by Owen's do-it-yourself work ethic. Top pick: "Some Arrows Go in Deep."
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein
feat: Julia Fordham
feat: Richard Thompson