Greg Brown

Further In

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    9
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Wonderfully and sparsely produced by guitarist Bo Ramsey, Further In may be the best outing yet from old-fashioned folkie Brown -- which is saying plenty. Brown's warm baritone has never sounded better, and slide-guitar-spiced numbers like "China" are addictive ear candy. Typically, Brown wrote every track; typically, too, the moods range from somber or even depressing ("Small Dark Movie") to positively ebullient ("Hey Baby Hey"). The latter mood predominates, though: most of the time, Brown comes across as genuinely happy, and the disposition inspires him. Unlike, say, Bob Dylan, who appears to produce his best recordings when he's facing a personal crisis, the introspective Brown seems to deliver his most striking verse, effusive melodies, and heartfelt singing when he's satisfied. A line in the irresistible "Two Little Feet" sums up his apparent state of mind: "Oh man, what am I trying to say?/It's a messed up world but I love it anyway."

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