Patty Larkin

Regrooving the Dream

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Patty Larkin digs deep into her bag of influences for a barrier-bending collection of songs that are nonetheless rooted in acoustic traditions. Her rich, everywoman voice suits her evocative guitar style effortlessly as she matches mood to sound. The effect of mixing it up makes "Only One" convincingly spooky as it merges folk blues with whispery, Astrid Gilberto vocalizing; "Anyway the Main Thing Is" goes East with its winding vocal riff. But "Mink Coats" is the centerpiece: With its old-as-time rock chords and its image sharp lyrics, Larkin may have crafted her finest hour. Guitarists John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin) and Marc Shulman (Suzanne Vega, Jewel) color the basic multi-instrumental tracks that Larkin laid down with co-producer Bette Warner. Within folk boundaries, the instrumental bridges linking songs and adventurous guitar sounds might be tippling on the edge of experimentation, but that would be overstating the case of stylistic departure. The "new direction" won't upset anyone accustomed to Larkin's already mature and fluid song style.

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