Heather Eatman

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Though she maintains her traditional folk attributes, Heather Eatman's third release, recorded in Nashville, is a no-nonsense roots rock collection that expertly draws from classic pop ("Mine"), Americana ("Blackfoot"), blues ("Train," and a coquettish reading of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful"), and blue-eyed soul ("Phone Call"). Eatman's smoky vocal delivery, which is up front in the mix at all times, is the perfect vehicle to convey her tempered tough/sensitive observations of the human condition. Former Lone Justice pianist Bruce Brody co-wrote two standout tracks, the Beatlesque "How" and the lush dirge "Too Wild," a tender farewell to an ailing horse. Eatman's romantic side surfaces in "Heaven Help Us," a mid-tempo ballad that contrasts a stale love affair with a decaying movie theater in an aural backdrop that recalls John Lennon's early '70s work. On each cut, the singer's compositions are embellished with an array of guitar textures that stretch from Keith Richards' patented bar-band riffing to dissonant fragments of sound, along with stellar atmospheric keyboard work from Brody and producer Roger Moutenot. Lyrically and melodically, Eatman is at the top of her game, and her air-tight backing band captures the spark of a live performance in the confines of a recording studio without wasting a note.

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