It is a brave thing to start a set of modern American country folk songs with a tale of loss and vulnerability, but this brave thing defines the music that follows, it states from the get go that this is a candid and original glimpse of the those that survive, but still are fragile, human, even scared. In this opening the singers prayers are perhaps not answered but by the asking, she is, one feels, made stronger, strong enough to carry on.
The sultry percussive ‘Unlit Match’ carries on this theme, the singer, detached, watches the girl on the stage, deconstructs the rebel boy myth, and the music is an invitation to let go, take those dangerous chances and prove those who would box you into a cliché, totally wrong.
All is not internal though, in stand out track, the ballad ‘Annie May’ Holmes sings the life of a quietly extraordinary woman, sketching the passage of time and history with remarkable subtlety and grace.
Then in ‘Pockets Full Of Gold’ she brings it back to the intimate world of the couple, through faith and love in each other surviving the (harsher) world around them. In fact all through this album, she commits her self to the belief that its ok to lean on those you trust, to show diary like the simple secrets of the soul.
This is a set that describes how the cold country of Alone, is left behind.
All this is tied together in the title track, the darkness has been preserved against, and the night is turning into day. What I particularly like here is the admission that even in this brand new hope of a day the journey may still be tough and even third chances may be needed.
Yes this is mainstream music, but I find no concessions here, or cynical production tricks, no artifice.
That all these songs are wrapped in a perfectly balanced mix of the pop smooth and the country honest lets us know that her message will soon get into the hearts of radio listeners everywhere.
Cross posted from NBT