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Linda Draper

Keepsake

(Planting Seeds; US: 8 May 2007; UK: Available as import)

I’m hard pressed to think of an album more appropriately titled than Linda Draper’s Keepsake, her fifth studio release.  Like most of our keepsakes, Draper’s work is warm and personal, resonating with the memories and insights we attach and attribute to things we hold dear.  Equipped with guitars, pianos, keyboards, and a toy xylophone, Draper conjures a treasure chest of thoughtful tunes and melodies. Keepsake, enriched by contributions from Robert Woodstock (bass), Major Matt (bass), Sam Lazzara (percussion), Nan Turner (piano), Soce, the Elemental Wizard (Violin), Danny Fast Fingers (Slide guitar), follows the New York City native’s previous outings: Ricochet (2001), Snow White Trash Girl (2002), Patchwork (2003), and One Two Three Four (2005).  Keepsake‘s strengths are its intimate, crisp recording that enables you to hear every breath and swallow, as well as Draper’s dreamy, angelic vocals and her astute songwriting, particularly her skill in using concrete imagery to develop metaphors for abstract feelings.  While “Kissing the Ground” and “Keepsake” serve as fine lyrical examples, my favorite is “Cell Phone”, which captures the emotional distance between people in an age of supposed technological closeness.  Draper also delivers a successful interpretation of Rick Nelson’s “How Long”. The weaknesses are: (1) how similar the songs sound to each other, and, more importantly, (2) the choppiness of Draper’s delivery.  The delivery, which makes the listening experience much like reading a poem with a line break after every other word, tends to neutralize the beauty of Draper’s lyricism. Best listens: “Keepsake”, “Cell Phone”, “Too Late”, “Kissing the Ground”, and “Full Moon”.

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Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.


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Singer-songwriter Linda Draper pens lean and spare songs full of atmosphere with elegant, every-note-in-the-right-place instrumentation.
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