Christy McWilson

Bed of Roses

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Christy McWilson's second solo album employs the same producer (labelmate Dave Alvin) and musicians as its predecessor. It also displays the same strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, she has a strong and polished voice, redolent of artists like Linda Ronstadt and Highway 101's Paulette Carlson. At her best, such as on the accordion-spiced "The Serpentine River," her lyrics and melodies can be quite compelling. But McWilson blazes no new trails; there's little about her delivery, style, or material to set her apart from the crowd. The strongest tracks here are the two well-chosen covers -- Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness" and Moby Grape's achingly sad "8:05," which is performed as a duet with the deep-voiced Alvin. The rest is spirited and likable, but also a bit too reminiscent of other mainstream country-rock acts.

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