Carolyn Mark

Terrible Hostess

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In the self-penned press release accompanying her superb second album, Terrible Hostess, Carolyn Mark self-deprecatingly dubs herself "The Other Girl in the Corn Sisters," and while it's true she's never earned the notice or acclaim justly heaped on duet partner Neko Case, it's time people started paying closer attention. Mark's songs are boozy and brassy, and her voice suggests a tough, salt-of-the-earth Natalie Merchant -- moving deftly from the Red Bull-and-vodka bluegrass of the opening "Fuzzy Slippers" to the juke-joint torch balladry of "Inevitable," Terrible Hostess is both rooted in traditional country & western and a repudiation thereof, smarter and saucier than anything to come out of Nashville in eons.

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