Laura Merrimen “Love Letters For Lonely Hunters” (Independent, 2009)
From Nova Scotia I give you…...
Neo-country is a new term to me. It means “pop with a twang” apparently and that sums up the debut album from Laura Merrimen.
Inevitably the press release mentions Lucinda Williams. Well it would wouldn’t it? That’s the benchmark against which all female singer songwriters seem to want to be measured against. And in this case they’re spot on. Merrimen has a lot of Williams’ approach about her, and that isn’t meant as a slight. This isn’t a 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road' impression – that would just be silly. But this is a mighty fine album on its own merits.
‘Ontario’ is the Willy Clay Band with a female songstress at the helm. Opener ‘Go On Now’ sets the pace with some great aggressive guitar from Dan Hache. The following track ‘Another Line’ slows things down with some sublime pedal steel.
‘Stand Alone’ is another laid back approach with painful lyrics, whilst ‘Mama’ pumps out some acrid electric guitar over Merrimen’s urgent voice. ‘Closer To The Door’ is a vintage sound that brings in some swirling Hammond organ . It could have been a pump organ; they both make an appearance on this album along with a Farfisa, and an accordion. That’s a lot of keyboards; bit like Jon Lord.
‘Don’t Worry Baby’ provides a great electric guitar riff that pushes the song along in a poppy chuggy way, whereas ‘Too Many Nights’ keeps up the foot tapping tempo.
One of the stand out tracks, and there are many, is ‘From The Ground’ where Merrimen keeps it simple but effective. Always the best way. Closer ‘Keepin It Low’ revisits some of the earlier themes, but that’s no bad thing, as Merrimen’s husky voice keeps you wanting more.
An excellent debut so expect Merrimen to be making waves near you soon.
Date review added: Saturday, April 03, 2010
Reviewer: Phil Edwards
Related web link: Laura Merrimen website