PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Gigi Dover: Unpicked Flowers

Jason MacNeil

Gigi Dover

Unpicked Flowers

Label: Rockin' Ranch
US Release Date: 2002-06-04
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Not new to the music industry, Gigi Dover got her musical feet wet back in the '80s with an Americana band called the Rank Outsiders. After some minor but critical success with the band, Dover began developing her own songwriting talents and thus a solo career. The fact she also had some credible and talented associated like Duane Jarvis (sideman to Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, and John Prine among others) and E-Street bass player Gary Tallent didn't exactly hurt either. By 1999 and still without a label deal, she decided to take matters into her own hands. After some hard work in the studio in the fall of last year, Dover saw light at the end of the tunnel. Her debut album, Unpicked Flowers is that light, a bright light but at times prone to flicker.

Starting with "Tangled", the album gets off to a far moodier tempo than it should and has mixed results at best. Sounding like Fleetwood Mac circa its heyday, the track doesn't have much of a kick to it. It appears it would be far better placed as the fourth or fifth track on the record. Dover gives a decent performance, but it's an odd opener. "Betty Drive" has a certain flow to it in the style of Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt in its funky blues-rock. "We all gotta come from somewhere / That don't mean you're gonna stay," she sings during the chorus while the groove flourishes. Duane Jarvis adds a helping hand on backing vocals and guitar. The track would also work well as a b-side to Lucinda Williams' "Joy".

The soulful "All I Want" has all the tracings of Shannon McNally but is far less produced and slick. Dover's vocals complement a steady guitar pace and a mid-tempo drumbeat. Shelby Lynn would also give the track its proper due, but Oliver makes the most of the chorus by not over-doing her words. The bridge sounds like it might, but she reels it back in just in time. Tallent's bass line is another asset to the song. "No Need to Reply" makes for a logical follow-up despite Dover's rather lukewarm vocals. It sounds here like she's making the most of an occasionally bland song. The backing vocals give it a kick, but it's too little too late. "Daughter" stands head and shoulders above the songs here in terms of lyrics and overall feeling. Whether it's the backing vocals or the sense she's paying homage to the Rolling Stones and Gram Parsons, it's a tune worth repeated listens.

What isn't worth repeated listens is "Everyone Wants a Kitten", which is an aimless and sonic mess. Trying to sounds at times pop, at times country but with a drumbeat that is R&B and a bass and guitar enjoying a funk rhythm, it just sounds wrong from the opening. Even a bridge that consists of an "acoustic" scratch turntable only adds to the series of miscues. Thankfully, "Between the Lines" mixes a bit of Raitt with the Stones circa "Tumbling Dice" and its simple but infectious Richards-like riff. Greg Wetzel's piano adds a nice to the great track also. "Learnin' How to Love" is a slow but methodically built song starting off with just an acoustic guitar but with each instrument added before the chorus. Unfortunately though it does feed off that, but returns to square one.

Dover doesn't have a particularly unique voice. Still though, she carries the majority of the songs and raises them from otherwise being bland or uninspired. "Wasn't Meant to Be" showcases her pipes and allows her to show off a bit. Although it's country-oriented, there are many pop characteristics about it. The barely audible guitar strumming in the belly of the song seems to be the catalyst for everything else. It also ends with Dover humming and adding vocals as she goes along, lacking the rigidity of other songs. The album ends on a sour note though, albeit a flamenco one. Trying her hand at a tune that would be better suited for Linda Ronstadt, "Will I Know Love" sounds a trifle forced. It would be a song k.d. lang would perform in her sleep, but doesn't work well for Dover. It's slightly disappointing for such an overall strong album to end this way. A very good debut, despite some obvious drawbacks.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.