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Eliza Lynn - Together (Civility)

Star rating: 

For Eliza Lynn's third album, following FRISKY AND FAIR (2005), THE WEARY WAKE UP (2007) and the more recent HAVEN (2009), the Nashville-based singer-songwriter has collected together nine songs written by others, chosen by her strong fan base. With TOGETHER, not only do we have an album of covers selected by 'fans', but also by fans who have had a say in how they want the songs to be presented. It's a bit of an odd concept but it certainly works. Fortunately, Lynn's fan base appears to be made up of discerning music lovers who know a thing or two about songs. With the one traditional selection, the sublime Shenandoah, which closes the album, the songs cover a broad range of songwriters including Ketch Secor and Willie Watson of the Old Crow Medicine Show (We're All In This Together), Doc Watson (Life is Like a River) and Van Morrison (When the Leaves Come Falling Down.) James Cleveland's late 1950s gospel hit Sit Down Servant is given a suitably sparse a capella treatment, whilst the beautiful This Love Will Carry borrows from the arrangement memorably supplied by its writer Dougie Maclean during his collaboration with Kathy Mattea for the film Songroads: A Friendship from Nashville to Dunkeld. With Will Straughan on dobro and lapsteel, John Stickley on guitar and mandolin, Rayna Gellart on fiddle and Alia Clary joining Straughan and Stickley on vocal harmonies, the album sticks to a clear and crisp acoustic sound throughout. The album's high point is the feel-good Red Dress, written by Maia Sharp and Kim Richey, which I defy anyone to keep their feet still to, let alone dance in the aisles with wild abandon.  

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky