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Laura Cantrell

Trains and Boats and Planes – 2008 (Diesel Only)

Reviewed by Linda Dailey Paulson

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CDs by Laura Cantrell

This eight-song, digital-only EP is Laura Cantrell's abbreviated follow up to the critically acclaimed "Humming By The Flowered Vine" (Matador Records, 2005). For this project, Cantrell chose a half dozen covers by estimable songwriting talents including Roger Miller, John Hartford, Merle Haggard and Burt Bachrach-Hal David. There's even a poignantly rendered cover of New Order's "Love Vigilantes."

Although this thematic EP seems to be about travel, in plumbing the lyrics, the actual theme is one of longing. The songs chosen are wistful pleas and wishes for other places and spaces, even if it's hauling out on the doomed "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" or being Howard Hughes in Las Vegas ("Howard Hughes' Blues"). And on the former track, Cantrell's clear voice and the arrangement breathes new life into the rusty Lightfoot chestnut.

There are no credits provided and thus no way to mention those folks who contribute their musical talents to this project. There are nice touches of mandolin and accordion sprinkled throughout. (There are also apparently three additional tracks from Cantrell's previous projects on this release that were not sent with the CD to be reviewed).