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Nor Jane Struthers

Nora Jane Struthers

(Blue Pig Music; US: 21 Jun 2010; UK: 21 Jun 2010)

Uninspired country set

Nora Jane Struthers explores a musical territory comprised of straight country, old-timey music and bluegrass. Her most successful songs are forays into the last of these, with energetic banjo, mandolin and fiddle adding sonic texture on “Mocking Bird” and “Greenbrier County”. The creepy “Look Out on the Mountain” manages to walk an ambiguous line between reassurance and threat, and is the most interesting song on the record. The uptempo tunes also serve to mask the deficiencies of her voice. Such limitations are all too apparent on such songs as “Evelyn” and “Build You a House”, which suffer greatly from Struthers’ lack of sustain. This record is full of heartfelt, pleasant songs which are hardly exceptional. Struthers needs to give listeners a more compelling reason to single her out from the pack.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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