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The Lovell Sisters

Time to Grow – 2009 (2DefPig)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by The Lovell Sisters

At the time of their 2005 debut recording "When Forever Rolls Around," Georgia-based sisters Jessica, Megan and Rebecca Lovell were 19, 15 and 14 respectively, and the album found them displaying some pretty impressive bluegrass chops. Four years later, as this new disc's title suggests, they've grown as much musically as chronologically, following in the footsteps of other wunderkind bluegrass sibling acts such as Nickel Creek and Cherryholmes in moving toward a more contemporary, Americana-type sound which, in this case, includes lap and pedal steel, cello and glockenspiel - but there's nary a banjo lick to be heard.

Instrumentally, the sisters remain solid while not overly flashy - which for the kinds of arrangements they do here is a plus - but the vocals are where their developing maturity really comes through. Both Jessica and Rebecca are quality lead singers, and the trios are excellent, especially on the two closing tracks, Blowin' Away and You Remain, a pair of tunes which hauntingly evoke the kind of material that Linda Ronstadt was doing in the early and mid seventies. They also do a nice take on Don Williams' We're All The Way, and Rebecca and Megan demonstrate their emerging composing skills in writing or collaborating on 5 of the 11 tracks, including a pretty fair old-fashioned murder ballad, Paulita Maxwell. They've still got the bluegrass underpinnings, but the Lovells have indeed grown into remarkably sophisticated and stylish acoustic musicians.