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Karen Poston

Read Bad – 2001 (The Music Room)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Karen Poston

Although this is transplanted Ohioan Karen Poston's debut release as a solo artist, she's done plenty of studio and live work with the likes of Dale Watson, The Derailers, Charlie Robison and Ted Roddy since her arrival in Texas seven years ago. The album reveals what Austin audiences surely already know: Poston is an engaging singer, with a nasally, slurry voice that at times recalls that of Kelly Willis (who lends her vocal help to Poston on the first two tracks), and an equally accomplished songwriter.

All of the songs are hers save two (one of them a ringing version of Liz Anderson's "Ride Ride Ride" featuring another Austin up-and-comer, Roger Wallace, on harmony vocals), and they cover a range of country - shuffles, ballads and up-tempo, steel-riding story-songs like "Flowered Dresses." What really makes the disc are touches like the Latin tinge Poston adds to the shuffling "I Could Loan Some Lonesome to You" and the high gear she throws things into on "Black Ice," which is as good a display of her narrative talents as anything on the disc. The help she gets from her backing band, the Crystal Pistols, goes some distance in making it, too.