Grace Braun's "Down in the Garden" opens I'm Your Girl, a two-disc set of Braun's acoustic efforts with one disc-worth of songs from her band, the refreshingly direct DQE. The ambitious double-disc collaboration is Braun's unique effort to combine her solo disc with her band's latest effort, and she executes it gracefully. The folk-tinged sounds on her solo disc are reminiscent of Freakwater, and Braun provides most of the musical accompaniment herself, performing acoustic guitar and piano. The title track appears early on, with Braun's endearingly subtle approach working wonders. Her narrative storyteller approach is noteworthy throughout, especially on the detached "Tonight You'll Take Her Home," and the a cappella grace of A.P. Carter's "The Wandering Boy." She covers Nick Drake on "Parasite" and "Time has Told Me," as well as The Carter Family's "Jealous Hearted Me." DQE bassist John Armstrong and drummer Dugan Trodglen provide backing support on some songs on the solo disc, and Page Waldrop adds pedal steel guitar on "Fire Engine Blues," while Justin Davis Hughes adds electric keyboard to "The Road Less Travelled," on which Braun recites poetry by Robert Frost himself.
The rollicking "Rock On" begins DQE's 18-track disc. Braun croons feverishly as DQE's vocalist, and Armstrong and Trodglen join forces to make DQE sound like one of the most heartfelt bar bands east of Nashville. The band offers their own version of "I'm Your Girl," and Braun's vocals are decidedly more feisty on this version. The band tones down slightly on "Blue Teardrops," while "Too Late to Love Me" rivals some of the best of modern folk-rock. Songs like "Candy Girl," "Freckles," and "Hot Dog!" are classic DQE, as Braun's jangly guitars and irreverent lyrics are backed by the steadfast rhythm section of Armstrong and Trodglen. I'm Your Girl ends with a rocking cover of Daniel Johnston's "What I've Seen." In the end, this two-disc set serves as a protest to the packaged, three-and-a-half minute pop songs saturating the top 40 charts. Like her contemporaries in the American indie folk-rock scene, Braun and friends set their own musical rules, and unleashed the astonishingly personal I'm Your Girl on Dark Beloved Cloud Records in the fall of 2002. For 37 songs over two discs, Braun is the girl of the moment, unleashing passionate vocal performances throughout.