Lauren Shera is a singer-songwriter whose guitar strumming and picking complements her quavery, throaty voice. Utilizing a palette of accompaniment that incorporates cello, mandolin, ukelele and trumpet, Shera keeps the arrangements lively, even as she manages to channel a middle-of-the-road version of what listeners will instinctively think of as “folk music”. There is nothing tremendously new or inventive here, and Shera doesn’t have the strongest voice or widest range you’ve ever heard, but the melodies are pretty and nothing is jarring or unpleasant . Mid-tempo tunes like “Endless Sea” and “Tether” dominate Once I Was A Bird, rubbing elbows with quieter, slower songs like “Bright As You Are” and “Your Battle”. Nothing rocks, exactly—although “The Panic Bell” does work up a head of steam, and “Storyteller” lopes along with verve—but everything sways along agreeably, sort of like a Bon Iver record with all the weird bits taken out.
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