What makes The Girl I Left Behind so much of a joy to listen to is the roots aspect of the content. It is not electronically enhanced with fancy audio gimmicks, it's just great music with a full-bodied presence that contains dance tunes, or tunes that one can relax to, so variety was taken into consideration when arranging the package. If one cannot find something pleasurable on The Girl I Left Behind, the fault is certainly not in the contents from the album. The cover of the Townes Van Zandt classic piece "Columbine" is a solo performance by Joyce Andersen, which turns out to be an excellent choice to kick off the album. One gets to hear a clean acoustic presentation of her fantastic vocals, which are similar to the powerful melodic vocal presence of Jewel. Her acoustic rhythm guitar work lends "Columbine" an exceptional balance of harmonies. Joyce Andersen is joined in her effort on "Who's That Knockin' at My Door" by two great musicians, Harvey Reid and David Surette. The vocals here have echoes of Emmylou Harris, with a forceful bluegrass expression. The melodic accentuations from the mandolin of David Surette, along with Joyce Andersen's fiddle and Harvey Reid's masterful rhythm guitar work give the melody a warm rich quality. The traditional piece "When I Was a Young Girl" introduces a new instrument to the content of the album. Joyce Andersen's expert bow work on the viola, with a vibrant rich tone, lends an additional depth to the piece. Reid's unique and charismatic guitar style plays off Andersen's vocals with a perfection that melts the soul. The perfect ending to what many will consider the best album of the year. Joyce Andersen, along with Harvey Reid, David Surette, John Ross, and Lex Romane have certainly blessed listeners with an album filled with down-home spirit and very entertaining music guaranteed to be a treasured addition to any music collection.
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AllMusic Review by Larry Belanger