Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

updated 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

>Linda Ronstadt

TURNING DOWN THE VOLUME

IF YOU'VE BEEN HOPINC THAT LINDA Ronstadt might record another country-flavored rock album like those she made in the 1970s, you can forget it for now. "A song like 'Tumblin' Dice' is a wonderful expression of its time, but I was very frustrated singing a lot of that two-note stuff," Ronstadt says. As for those rock-style bands that backed her vocals, "If I never hear another high, arching guitar solo as long as I live," she says, "it'll be too soon."

Having instead chosen variety over volume, Ronstadt, 47, now lives the good life outside the pop mainstream, sharing a large Victorian home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights district with her adopted 2-year-old daughter Clementine. Around the house, she says, she sings "opera and Mexican music. The stuff that was in my living room in Tucson, Arizona, when I was growing up."

On Ronstadt's new album, however, she summons another part of her past, reinterpreting material by '60s hit-makers like Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and Carole King. "The songs of theirs are the ones that have kept waking me up in the middle of the night for years," she says. "Finally, I just had to sing them."

For her next project, Ronstadt will do her singing on a follow-up to her well-received 1987 country CD, Trio, recorded with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. After that, die-hard fans from her earlier, country rock days can only hope for the best. And maybe there is some reason for hope after all. "Occasionally, I sing 'Tumblin' Dice,' " Ronstadt confesses, "and do sort of enjoy it."

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