At the Matisyahu concert on Sunday, the local college radio station was giving away free CDs. Just a big box full of them, with no organization. Some didn't even have cases. But I did what any music lover would: grabbed a stack at random and said thanks. I've been going through them, and a few are ok, several are complete wastes of the plastic they're printed on. But this one is amazing.
I listened to this one the first time on my drive to work yesterday. And I was tempted to camp out in the car, and be late for my first patient, so that I could listen to the rest of this album. Tara's voice is rough, but real. Think Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams. In fact, my first thought was that this sounded a lot like Emmylou, but that's unfair, since that master performer has gone through almost as many style changes as Madonna, though with more grace. My next thought was Lucinda Williams. I didn't know anything about Tara at that point, but it turns out she has actually played with Lucinda, who apparently loves her music.
More to the point of the album though, this one has powerful lyrics, moving melodies, and perfect suited intrumental production. Spare, to balance the richness of Tara's voice. Just guitar, drums, some keyboards. Very melodic, not in the Keane, "I am going to be humming this for weeks" sense. More like the Decemberists, with less scandalous lyrics. Sombre, mood-setting, but not ambient.
The second thing you notice about this album is that it's an album in the clasic sense. The songs progress through naturally, and it makes sense to listen to them in order. From the rocking opening tracks to the last mournful note of the close, this is a single piece of art.
Excellent, excellent album.