Amy Allison

Sad Girl

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Sad Girl not only is the title of Amy Allison's second solo album, but it's also an apt description for her music. The follow-up to her 1996 debut (the also-appropriately named The Maudlin Years) is filled with songs sufficed in sadness and heartache. She opens the disc singing: "I'm listless and lonesome and I don't know what to do/There was a time when I lived only for you/But where have you gone to, you're nowhere to be found." And the rest of the songs find her sorting over troubled relationships, from being deceived ("One Thing in Mind" and "Everybody Thinks You're an Angel") to being deserted ("Where Did You Go?" and "Do I Miss You?"). Most of the tunes are performed in a spare, plaintive country style that compliments the songs' soul-bearing nature. Allison does shift away from her forlorn tunes of wronged women midway through the disc with "Shadow of a Man" and "Sad State of Affairs." The former is a comic, honky tonkin' rocker about a man getting embarrassingly drunk at a wedding, while the latter is a old-fashioned country lament that finds the woman, not the husband, as the cheating spouse. These two songs demonstrate that Allison is not always the victimized girl who "can start crying without even trying." Although her unique nasally, twangy vocal style -- suggesting a mix of Iris Dement and Victoria Williams -- is something of an acquired taste, it well-suits her mournful lyrics. This disc as well is something of an acquired taste. Like Lucinda Williams' Essence, the confessional, melancholic songs here dwell deeply in despair, which can be hard to take, but Allison pens such emotionally stirring songs that the listener can't help but be moved.

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