Picks and Pans Review: In This World
Though they draw you in with their ear-catching, neo-Everly Brothers harmonies, the Burns Sisters never come off as copycats. Instead, they impress with an ingratiating, eccentric, seemingly natural-born style—more folk than rock, more singer-songwriter than country, more old-time than New Age—that could be called all-Americana kitchen sink.
In This World, the Ithaca, N.Y., trio's new disc produced in Nashville by ex-Springsteen bassist Garry Tallent, starts with a ravishing, rather cosmic rural hoedown (the fiddle-and dobro-driven "Dance Upon This Earth") and ends with an unaccompanied hymn ("No More Silence") whose vows seem entirely secular. The metaphorical "Johnny Got a Gun" tackles the careless spreading of AIDS. "I Won't Turn My Back" is anthemic, and "Heavenly Blue" lyrically upbeat and downbeat at the same time ("The music stopped and you were gone/ I guess angels don't stay long").
While Annie, Marie and Jeannie are first-rate singers and melodists, they sometimes write lyrics in which heartfelt emotions are overwhelmed by clichés. Example: "My Father's Blue Eyes" ("As I've grown older I cherish the time we had to spend/ Fishing and laughing together"). Almost always, however, In This World is a fine place to be. (Philo/Rounder)