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Claire Lynch

Crowd Favorites – 2007 (Rounder)

Reviewed by J.P. Tausig

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CDs by Claire Lynch

Claire Lynch's talents as a singer, songwriter and band leader are showcased on this compilation disc of 10 songs from her catalogue and new recordings of favorites by her Front Porch String Band. "Sweetheart Darlin' of Mine" and "If Wishes Were Horses" are bluegrass tunes with elegant breaks and tight vocal harmonies. In "Train Long Gone," the group sets the stage by clueing the listener to the next line. It's a new take on more traditional tunes where the chorus repeats or follows the lead.

What is surprising is the depth and skill Lynch and her bands command from early on, with the Front Porch String Band in a jazzy rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" including a hot bass solo to the Claire Lynch Band of today with their new version of the ballad "Kennesaw Line," originally done by the Front Porch String Band.

Her musical range covers blues, country swing and Cajun. There's even a nod to gypsy jazz with "Fallin' in Love." Several of the songs would also work as dance tunes at a local hall.

In every song, Lynch's vocals are clear and bright and clearly under control, though sometimes lacking in power and depth. Harmonies are tight and clean with tasteful clean instrumentals throughout. Despite the misleading title, this is not a live album, but a slickly produced effort with tight attention to detail.