Claire Holley

Claire Holley

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The Mississippi singer/songwriter's third album has an agreeable folk-based, gentle sound with tinges of country. It's hard to imagine that fans of Iris DeMent, Emmylou Harris, Nanci Griffith, and the like wouldn't enjoy Holley as an opening act. At the same time, it doesn't demand attention as a major work. It's easygoing material with a strong narrative flair, whether first-person or third-person, delivered in a high and pleasant, if average, voice. The emphasis is on descriptive accounts that sound almost like on-the-spot reports of small towns or road trips, as with the scenes of a sleepy Sunday morning on "Heyward Avenue." It isn't all mellow folky fare, digging into some forceful folk-rock on "Sea Boy," and some lighter jazzy tones on "In My Garden." Overall, it has the feel of a familiar veteran working this well-trod turf, although, as it happens, Holley was younger and had less recorded work behind her at the time of this release than most such peers did.

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