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Emily Herring

My Tears Will Be Relieved

(self-released; US: 19 Jul 2005)

This Portland, Oregon-by-way-of-Texas musician mixes blues with a hearty helping of country, although her vocals aren’t the strongest thing I’ve heard. “What Will I Do?” has her moving from a bluesy swagger to a country lilt to even a falsetto-meets-yodel. It’s quite odd, but keeps you listening. Her playing is what seals the deal with this song though, a mean Delta feel complete with the slide guitar. A better effort is “Doc Bronner”, which is suitable to her voice—a slow, honky-tonky kind of tune that brings to mind early k.d. lang. Meanwhile, the title track is almost like a tribute to the style of Hank Williams; even the structure has a swinging quality to it. The same can be said for the waltz-y Tex-Mex flavoring on “No Se Parece A Nada”. But the songs are often nowhere in the middle; they’re either really good or really not good, with “Blues in the Key of C#M” falling unfortunately into the latter. It’s quickly forgotten about with the finger-picking-filled “(Don’t) Step It Up and Go”, an acoustic boogie blues based tune that clocks in under two minutes. What should be forgotten is the hokey “Okie from Muskogee” Haggard lyric on the hokey “Has Country Gone to Hell?” Remember instead one of the later highlights is a fine “By Heaven”.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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