Cris Williamson

Prairie Fire

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Prairie Fire is Cris Williamson's Western album, an appropriate theme for this daughter of the Great Plains. The title track and "Grandmother's Land" treat Native American topics; "Man-Camp" is set "out here in the wilds of Wyoming"; "Colorado Dustbowl Days" (which has a reggae arrangement, oddly enough) harks back to the time of Woody Guthrie; "Tsunami," the album's catchiest and most driving rocker, brings the West to its logical conclusion, in the new age trendiness of Los Angeles; and the country-tinged "Last Chance Saloon" brings the album to an end. Williamson also finds space for some lovely ballads: the piano-led "Don't Lose Heart" encourages a lover, while "Suitcase Full of Sorrow" uses an acoustic guitar for its lead instrument as the lyrics describe a romantic departure. Prairie Fire is not one of Williamson's best albums, but it has some excellent songs and performances, and its subject matter has an obvious connection to the artist's own background.

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