Patricia Vonne

Guitars & Castanets

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Patricia Vonne's sophomore album opens with "Joe's Gone Ridin'," which starts off in a soft mode before each of her bandmates pitches in and takes this train-themed tune into a chugging roots rock pattern inspired by Joe Ely. Singing about being a damsel in distress, she sounds like a revved-up version of an early Rosanne Cash as the chorus keeps things rolling along nicely. Although there is a Tex-Mex hue to some songs, fans of Steve Earle would fall in love with the midtempo, solid, and pretty "Texas Burning," which shows the best of both worlds: Vonne's strong voice and the equally strong musicianship behind her. However, she veers deeply into the sexy yet mellow "La Gitana de Triana," a pure Spanish tune that brings to mind Linda Ronstadt. She returns to this blueprint somewhat on "Fiesta Sangria," although the track ends rather abruptly. When the chorus goes into a pop-tinged mold, it tends to dampen the stronger verses. However, she returns to her strengths with the pleasing "Lonesome Rider," which takes a great melody and rides it from start to finish with her voice soaring throughout. Her unpredictability is a double-edged sword at times, but she fares much better on the Spanish tune "Guitarras y Castanuelas," with its bolero-like feeling. The highlight, though, has to be the lovely and finely crafted "Long Season," which delicately toes the line between country and roots rock. Guitarist Kirk Brewster gives some great licks in the chorus and also in the bridge, resembling the playing of Eric Ambel to some extent. Another surprise is the very good "Blood on the Tracks," which comes off like a Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell duet. However, "Sax Maniac" is a roadhouse blues tune you'd find on any George Thorogood album. On the whole, it is a very good album with several unique twists and turns.

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