Trina Hamlin has jokingly said that the blues were created in her native Minnesota because that's where the Mississippi River begins. She's only kidding, of course -- the New York-based singer/songwriter knows that the blues were born in the Deep South and eventually made their way north (unlike the Mississippi River, which flows from north to south). But one thing Hamlin is quite serious about is the importance of blues feeling. Living Room isn't a blues CD -- Hamlin's music is introspective pop/rock and roots rock, but it's introspective pop/rock and roots rock with folk influences and a wealth of blues feeling. You don't have to embrace a 12-bar format to know how enriching the feeling of the blues can be, and Hamlin demonstrates that she is well aware of that fact on "Wounded Knee," "A Thought," and other earthy offerings. Blessed with an impressive range and a big, robust voice, the soulful Hamlin often brings to mind Melissa Etheridge -- another singer/songwriter who has often taken a very bluesy, gritty approach to pop/rock and roots rock. Not that Hamlin is trying to emulate Etheridge or anyone else; she's her own person, and her lyrics usually sound personal even though she isn't innovative or groundbreaking. Generally solid and occasionally excellent, Living Room makes one hope that Hamlin will become better known in the pop/rock world.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson