Colleen Sexton

Greatest Find

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Track nine on Colleen Sexton's Greatest Find CD, "Old Days," perhaps best epitomizes the folk meets jazz with traditional country overtones that is her interesting music. Although the singer seems to be struggling to make an identifying mark -- Sexton drawing liberally from Rickie Lee Jones and Sheryl Crow on much of this disc -- it is the fusion of the differing styles that brings balance here and shows promise that future albums will be worth watching. "Mean Streak" is pleasant in its approach, though the subject matter is more sinister than the music wants to reveal. The artist is more than competent and she's definitely a contender, but with little to separate this from other acts of Sexton's caliber, Greatest Find risks getting lost in the shuffle. "Benediction" gets the nod in some circles as the standout track, and it has a charm, though also fails to move into that realm of the extraordinary, the moment so necessary to give a singer/songwriter that calling card known as the hit record. It is something one of the collaborators here, Janis Ian, uncovered when "At Seventeen" and "Society's Child" gave the public at large a clear snapshot of Ian's one of a kind vision, that thing that made her so special. Recorded from autumn 2002 to spring 2003, the CD also employs the help of Colleen's brother Martin Sexton, guitarist Cliff Eberhardt, and other musicians sensitive to her artistic impressions. In the album's final moment, "Way I Am," listeners get to ride in a vehicle already used to bring them to "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega. As a relatively new artist, Sexton can be commended for putting such a fine and expressive collection of songs together, making the most of the no-nonsense, by-the-book production of Randy Labbe. It is polished music with everything having a bright clarity, from all the eclectic instruments to the vocals. The pop of "Pickin' Up Sticks" is a far cry from the bassline that heralds the opening track, "Got You on My Mind," while "Golden Treasure" has the snap to bring the most attention to this project. A bouncy rhythm glides under the slide guitar with a hook that was lifted for the album's title, "You are my greatest find." Along with being the most innovative three-plus minutes, it is also the best track here, a bright and exciting declaration of discovery with fiddles embellishing the anticipated shuffle. If Sexton can pull a few more of these out of her hat, Janis Ian will be opening for her.

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