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Li'l Mo & the Monicats

Hearts In My Dream – 1999 (Passin Fancy)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Li'l Mo & the Monicats

With the release of her second fine album, you have to wonder just how long Monica Passin (aka Li'l Mo) is going to remain a deep secret even within the small chatty world of alternative country. While her first disc was split about evenly between rockabilly and country, New Yorker Passin moves a bit further to the country side on her new album. Whatever the style of music, she generally evokes the '50's both vocally and instrumentally.

The album consists of seven originals and four well-chosen covers. The latter include the title tune, an obscure but delectable George Jones song (Alan Jackson, take note) and "The Sun Keeps Shining," the Everly Brothers first (and least successful) record. Highlights among the originals include "It Just Doesn't Add Up" (which could easily be a George Jones song) and "I Will Give My Love," which - with Tony Trischka on banjo - might put one in mind of Alison Krauss. Passin doesn't have the husky powerful voice that today's country radio demands, but for non-mainstream types she delivers the goods in every way. ( E-Mail: lilmo@earthlink.net, 212-750-5266)