It takes a bit of nerve to open an album with a new version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," even if the last album received good reviews. But Grey DeLisle delivers a confidently subdued take on Freddie Mercury's classic, skipping the dramatic ending and turning it into a softly sung, tender ballad. Add to this a tastefully low-key arrangement and a steel guitar, and one has the beginning of a thoughtful, emotive performance on Iron Flowers. DeLisle is joined by a talented team, including bassist Murry Hammond, guitarist Marvin Etzioni (who also handles production chores), and pedal steel player Greg Leisz. While the instrumental backup -- guitars, steel, and the occasional mandolin -- may be somewhat standard in alternative country circles, it's used with a great deal of elasticity on Iron Flowers. The band can play it rough, as on the rowdy "Blueheart," or gentle acoustic on "Sweet Little Bluebird," and DeLisle has the vocal range to effectively deliver the emotional goods on both. The good material -- from borrowed oldies to fresh originals -- lasts through track ten, and the performances by everyone involved give the album a feel of authenticity. With DeLisle's confident vocals and songwriting and an imaginative sound, Iron Flowers is a charming album that will please old fans and make lots of new ones.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.