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Laura Cantrell

When The Roses Bloom Again – 2002 (Diesel Only)

Reviewed by Sophie Best

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CDs by Laura Cantrell

This second solo album by New York City songstress and disc jockey Laura Cantrell sparkles with an instantly bright beauty which doesn't recede for a moment throughout eight covers and four originals. Cantrell's voice has a delicate sweetness and a natural lilt which is a little reminiscent of a young Olivia Newton-John. And there's something about all these songs which evokes the forever-lost innocence of 1970s AM radio; the tracks all share an open-road feel, with simple but freewheeling melodies which Cantrell and her band to soar without leaving the ground.

The album is produced by Jay Sherman-Godfrey (World Famous Blue Jays), who plays guitars and keyboards as well as contributing to the harmony palette, amongst a tight circle of New Yorkers including Robin Goldwasser, Mary Lee Kortes, Jon Graboff and Dan Prater (Beat Rodeo), whose "Vaguest Idea" is one of the outstanding versions that Cantrell takes on here. She also does a terrific job of rendering Amy Rigby's "Don't Break The Heart" and the ill-fated "When The Roses Bloom Again," the Carter Family tune that Jeff Tweedy mistakenly rewrote as a Woody Guthrie/Wilco "collaboration" for the "Mermaid Avenue" project. Cantrell's version of the song is every bit as appealing as Tweedy's or, for that matter, Sally Timms', although it's on the contemporary styled, upbeat pop-country tracks rather than the more traditional numbers, that Cantrell really shines.