Anny

Naked

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In the early to mid-2000s, keeping up with the singer/songwriter scene could be a challenge because there were so darn many of them: excellent singer/songwriters, mediocre singer/songwriters, totally forgettable singer/songwriters. And part of the fun of following that scene was discovering the ones who, although talented, were flying under the radar -- Anny Rusk, for example. The first half of the 2000s didn't make Rusk a huge name in the world of female singer/songwriters, but she did enjoy a small following and recorded some noteworthy CDs, including her third album, Naked. Although not a five-star masterpiece, this 2005 release is an enjoyable outing that draws on such influences as Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan. Naked finds Rusk (who co-wrote most of the material and is listed strictly as Anny on this disc) revisiting (with new arrangements) a few songs that were previously heard on her 2001 release, Strange & Beautiful -- among them, the quirky "Gonna Get Mine" (which is about an execution by lethal injection) and the infectious "White Lipstick Girl." The latter gets Naked off to a perky, energetic start, but for the most part Naked is not a high-energy sort of album. It is generally an introspective, subtle, understated affair -- and that approach serves Rusk well on "I Want to Break Free," "Helpless," "Purple God" (another song previously heard on Strange & Beautiful), and "Home" as well an intimate cover of Daryl Hall's "Everytime You Go Away." Naked didn't receive nearly as much attention as it could have in 2005, but it's still a likable demonstration of what Rusk has to offer adult alternative and folk-rock fans.

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