Claire Lynch

New Day

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Claire Lynch is blessed with sort of voice that's practically perfect for bluegrass -- high and clear, but with enough force to express a wealth of emotion and a sense of drama that never overplays its hand or feels like grand-standing. Lynch's admirable willingness to put her personal life and the needs of her family ahead of her career, however, means she doesn't get into the studio as often as some of her peers, and 2006's New Day is the first new music from Lynch since Lovelight in 2000. However, fans will certainly feel this album was worth the wait. New Day matches Lynch with a core of fine pickers -- including David Harvey on mandolin, Missy Raines on bass, and Jim Hurst on guitar -- and some great guest musicians, including Alison Brown and Stuart Duncan, who can turn up the heat on up-tempo numbers like "Leavin' on That Evening Train" while sounding spare and subtle on "Long After I'm Gone." Lynch produced the set, and chose some superb songs for herself (and wrote three of them herself) while keeping the arrangements and audio simple and uncluttered. But Lynch is the real star of this show, and while never betraying her essential modesty, New Day is a lovely showcase for her gorgeous vocal instrument. She can summon up the spiritual mysteries of "Only Passing Through" and "I Believe in Forever" as easily as sharing the girlish joy of "Fallin' in Love," and every note she sings on this disc sounds lovely, honest, and from the heart. A new album from Claire Lynch is always a gift, and New Day is one present sure to put a smile on your face.

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