Picks and Pans Review: Roses
Kathy Mattea (Narada)
Mattea has always been on the cerebral side, even when she sang about truck drivers bringing flowers to their girlfriends. On this album she indulges her self-conscious philosophizing while blending her country-folk background with Scottish and Irish folk music. The results are uneven. The ponderous lyrics come draped in a sonic quilt sewn out of such unusual instruments as pennywhistles, Celtic concertinas and even a pie plate. Yet so warm and rich is Mattea's intimate alto, so pervasive is her musicality, that she never succumbs to the dirgelike quality that marks much Scottish and Irish music. Even "Ashes in the Wind," her songwriter-husband Jon Vezner's tribute to a dead friend, comes across as a celebration, not a eulogy. Still, those who prefer the Mattea of "18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses" may not have any bouquets for this disc.
Bottom Line: Thorny listening
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