Linda Dunn

Linda Dunn

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Singer/songwriter Linda Dunn's debut album is an interesting mix of sometimes contradictory tendencies: she writes choruses that are graceful, compact and hooky, and between them she sings verses that are crowded and clumsy, although the stories and characters that fill them are usually interesting. She tends to sing long lines on a single note, which makes her songs sound like essays or short stories being sung over a musical afterthought. "Fortune's Courtesan" is a good example of that tendency, although it's most egregious on "A Broken Heart's Terrible Thing," a blues composition so full of words and so bereft of melody that it's actually annoying. Worst is "Mickey-Mouse Pseudo-Zen," which boasts the couplet "At the risk of sounding unenlightened or committing some new age sin/I won't stand to hear you preach me the gospel according to your Mickey-Mouse pseudo-zen." On the other hand, her discursive approach works very nicely on "In the Chelsea," a strangely touching catalog of squalid celebrity death, and on the equally touching breakup ballad "Sorry for the Rain." She may strive too hard for artfulness, but that doesn't mean she never achieves it. Guitarist Nils Lofgren is a shining presence throughout the album.

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