Birdie Busch

The Ways We Try

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Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Birdie Busch has one of those voices that draws you in on the first phrase and breathes you out at the end of the record. It's not devastatingly beautiful, brimming with venom, or capable of coaxing small birds from their nests, but it's as familiar as storm clouds in July and as easy to ingest as a small-town milkshake. Busch and her slightly funky, sometimes quirky, and always-relaxed backing band blow through 11 slices of East Coast humor, pathos, and earnest observation that treat the word "pretense" as if it never existed. From the gentle swing of "Cup" to the bluesy Randy Newman-esque closer "Room Above the City," The Ways We Try is so subtle in its execution that it may get lost among the bevy of louder, lamer, and more opulent acts of 2006, but if the business were fair, and the cream really did rise to the top, there would be one less employee doing the serving.

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