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Laura Tsaggaris

Everyman

(Overtime; US: 22 Jan 2013; UK: Import)

There’s a bracing new confidence to Everyman, the third full-length album from singer-songwriter Laura Tsaggaris. Glimpses of promise were certainly evident on Tsaggaris’s first two records, Proof (2005)  and Keep Talking (2009), but neither album quite added up to the sum of its parts the way Everyman  does. Produced by Jamie Candiloro (Willie Nelson, Luscious Jackson, Courtney Love), the new release is Tsaggariss most stylistically diverse to date in its amalgamation of pop, rock, (alt)country and folk elements. On a first listen, the swerves between styles might seem jarring, but the album comes into focus with repeated plays, as its 13 well-crafted tracks prove to deepen and complement each other while also retaining highly distinctive personalities of their own.


Two standout mellow ballads—the enticing opener “Dig” and the almost equally exquisite “Unsteady”—benefit from sympathetic vocal assists from Ryan Adams while handclaps and Doug Pettibone’s guitar work slice through the driving title track. Horns and whistling then punctuate the infectious “I Am Not In Control”, “Finish What You Started” twangs and twirls with impeccable elegance, “Only in Daydreams” does rock via ragtime and the punchy soul of the delicious love song “Traffic Stops” would make Patti Scialfa proud. Despite the mix of elements, the album never seems cluttered or overly fussy in its approach. Rather, Everyman consistently sounds like an organic and emotionally open work. Vocally, Tsaggaris inhabits the album’s diverse moods and modes with absolute conviction. Her rich, mature voice is a warmly expressive instrument that can turn strident and assertive when need be. Despite her pronouncement to the contrary, then, Tsaggaris sounds very much in control throughout Everyman, and the result is a vibrant record that deserves to be widely heard.

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Alex Ramon lives in London, UK, and teaches English literature and film at Kingston University and the University of Reading. He holds a PhD in English and is the author of the book Liminal Spaces: The Double Art of Carol Shields (2008). In addition to writing for PopMatters, Wears The Trousers and The Public Reviews, he's been known to blog here: http://boycottingtrends.blogspot.com/. And to tweet @BoycottTrends.


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