Picks and Pans Review: Covenant

updated 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/18/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Greg Brown (Red House)

Veteran singer-songwriter Greg Brown's wry observations about the wandering life have earned him a devoted following on the folk-rock circuit. On Covenant, his 17th album, he stays closer to home, testing love's thorns. It adds up to a singular collection of melancholia and quiet celebration.

Brown's bass vocal and Appalachia-flavored acoustic gems tell of loneliness ("Blue Car"), of children ("Rexroth's Daughter") and of marriage's sweetest lulls ("Lullaby") and deepest sorrows (" 'Cept You & Me Babe"). Helped by a sensitive quartet that includes longtime guitarist Bo Ramsey, Brown constructs deceptively simple tales of love always sought, sometimes found and often lost. Bottom Line: Poetic Covenant

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