Annie Gallup

Steady Steady Yes

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By the time Annie Gallup recorded Steady Steady Yes in 1999, she was well into her incarnation as a folk singer turned street poet extraordinaire. In both "Howling in the Distance" and "Three Photographs," she conversationally delivers lyrics like "[h]olding a tumbleweed the size of a bathtub high above my head" over a spare, rhythmic background. There is little melody. The spare electric guitar of "Stone Angel" vaguely reminds one of a softer version of a Velvet Underground song, played late in the a.m. to a quiet few. In "Don't Go Back to Sleep," she covers singer/songwriter-like material but adds enough distance to keep the song from centering directly on her. This is also true of the title cut. The delivery, distance, bass-driven riff keeps Gallup from sounding like a run-of-the-mill songwriter who employs the muses to plunder and purge her own psychological hang-ups. If Steady Steady Yes doesn't succeed quite as well as Courage My Love (1998) or Swerve (2001), it is because of the sameness of the songs. She's clearly comfortable with her newfound style, but for whatever reason, plays it a bit safer here. This means that Steady Steady Yes may not be the best place for a new fan to start, but fans who already have the abovementioned albums will definitely want to get a copy. Steady Steady Yes would also be a good place for budding singer/songwriters to take a peek at how one artist etched out a unique and arresting style.

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