Gigi Dover

Unpicked Flowers

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Gigi (aka Gigi Dover, former lead singer of the Rank Outsiders) had trouble getting record companies to show an interest in her demos and decided to make her own record, Unpicked Flowers. It is a well-played and well-performed collection of rootsy country-rock, but you can tell why those phone calls to the major labels have gone unanswered. Gigi has a bluesy alto that she uses to sell the sometimes-clever lyrics she has written to songs also co-composed by Jon Langford and Sally Timms of the Mekons, among others, and her musicians, led by guitarist Bill Noonan, play in a sympathetic, lightly rocking style. But when you're not the first or even the second one in the door in a particular style, it's hard to get people to listen -- unless, of course, that style seems to be really hot, in which case the labels will sign everything in sight that seems to sound like it. But Gigi fits into the somewhat amorphous Americana style of country-rock, with a voice that sounds at least a little like many other purveyors of similar music. The names are easy to tick off and include Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Amy Ray of Indigo Girls, Lucinda Williams, and even, thinking back a bit, Maria Muldaur. As such, Gigi would have to have really great songs to stand out, and she only has good ones. Meanwhile, Americana still has yet to catch fire with a broad audience, despite the spilling of considerable ink on its behalf. As it is, then, Unpicked Flowers is the kind of record you might buy on impulse after catching one of Gigi's sets in a local roadhouse and being impressed with her spirited performance. But it is not competitive on a national basis with other discs in the same familiar style.

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