Mary McCaslin

Prairie in the Sky

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Public perception of what a particular musical artist was all about sometimes fades, leaving the poor confused record buyer in the predicament of trying to figure out what sort of music to expect from cover artwork alone. In the case of this album one might think this is some kind of new age cowboy drivel, the cover decorated with airbrushed cowgirls, cacti, horses, and pink flowers. It is all very ugly and could very well hide the respectable and sincere music that lies within. The voice of Mary McCaslin is the kind of female folk or country voice that has gotten harder and harder to find since the '70s passed by. With both country and rock music getting slicker, vocalists tend to almost intentionally avoid this kind of warmth and personality, as if afraid of sounding real. The Western theme of this album is in reality a haphazard umbrella over songs that deal with Western settings or something just vaguely Western. Many of the artist's lyrics have a vague quality, which will appeal to listeners who like to think about lyrics and what they might mean rather than getting whacked over the head with an obvious message. There is also some well-done orchestration involving instruments such as French horn. All in all, quite a good album and one thing is for sure -- it doesn't sound what it looks like.

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