Mare Winningham

What Might Be

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

What Might Be is an extraordinary track by film star Mare Winningham. Loreena McKinnit and Natalie Merchant share the delicate and precise style that Winningham puts into her voice and music. Bill Mapel co-wrote the lyrics to the title track, and it is the only song not composed entirely by Mare. Sid Page's violin brings the determination of "What Might Be" to a frenzy toward its conclusion, a song that works in so many ways, and more present than "Take My Word For It," which opens the album like a counterpoint to the work of Dan Fogelberg. "Well It's Gone" goes in another direction, folk music from a cabana in some film of Mare's perhaps, very light and friendly on the ears, cool backing vocals slide in unexpectedly to enhance this piece. Despite her fame, these 12 songs from the early '90s show a maturity and grasp of musical communication that demands radio attention and a wider audience. "If I Wanted" beautifully combines Winningham's acoustic rhythm guitar, Robert Carradine's acoustic lead guitar, Joel Hamilton's acoustic bass to good effect, but it's Mare's use of chords that endears the tune to the listener, her voice taking an early Judy Collins kind of turn. "Train Song" has that naive arrogance of early Janis Ian, "Far Away From Me" helps the album parachute to a gentle landing. This is an exceptional effort by a tremendously talented, multifaceted artist.

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