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Since 2004, Laurie MacAllister has traveled the country as part of the Americana vocal trio Red Molly. Here, on her first solo recording in 15 years, she’s stepping up to the microphone alone, with a crystalline voice that cuts straight to the heart. And while that voice is a spectacular asset, she shines in her roles as curator and storyteller; she selected these 13 musical gems, and assembled a studio band of folk music’s finest sidemen, a crack ensemble who provide a stunning backdrop for the delivery of these stories. The thread that runs through all the songs is as old as time itself: Love.
There’s the innocence and anticipation of a first kiss in “When We Begin” and the scary, about-to-fall-in-love shakiness of “Vertigo”. There’s the wry response to abandonment in “Are You Happy Now?” and the desperation and loneliness of loss in “Unfamiliar Moon”. There’s hope of eventual forgiveness in “A Reckoning of Us” and a story of decades-old love gone cold, in “Birches”. It’s all here, all the beauty, the longing, the heartbreak. This album of songs is a mixed tape lover’s dream.
Like she does in her work with Red Molly, Laurie pays tribute to her favorite songwriters, including songs by Bill Morrissey, Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky, Cliff Eberhardt, and Vance Gilbert; and I’m honored to be on the list. The album in many ways is Laurie’s love letter to the contemporary folk music scene, celebrating a collection of it’s best songwriters, songs, musicians and vocalists.
01. My Stupid Heart
02. When We Begin (feat. Mark Erelli)
03. For a Song
04. Poison and Wine (feat. Jimmy LaFave)
06. A Reckoning of Us
07. Are You Happy Now? (feat. Richard Shindell)
08. Home (feat. Robby Hecht)
09. Ten Year Night
10. A Thousand Years (feat. Ellis Paul)
11. Unfamiliar Moon
12. Birches (feat. David Glaser)
13. The Right Words