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Allison Moorer

Crows – 2010 (Rykodisc)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Allison Moorer

Allison Moorer is known as much for her own material as she is for her family in sister Shelby Lynne and hubby Steve Earle. However, here, Moorer seems to move from previous Americana albums for a haunting, jazz-accented approach on the opener Abalone Sky. Think of Cowboy Junkies' Margo Timmins fronting a seasoned jazz trio, and you should get the picture for that tune and especially the engaging Should I Be Concerned. And it's a very good idea, which sets things off on the right foot. But Goodbye To The Ground doesn't get off the ground and seems unfulfilled.

Trekking through certain genres, such as the Sheryl Crow-ish roots pop on a somewhat palatable but underwhelming Just Another Foot, Moorer has the chops to shine, but often comes up a tad short. Fortunately, one keeper is The Broken Girl which has her running with the catchy melody. A close second might be the sparser aura hovering over the sweet, tender Still The Side Of Gone.

The album's middle portion contains much of opener's same flavoring with an attempted wistful look back on Easy In The Summertime with its piano accents. Unfortunately, it sounds too forced and melodramatic as does the dreamy arrangement and strings attempting to revive The Stars And I.

By the homestretch, it appears Moorer has hit her stride on another nugget in Like The Rain with its "less is more" blueprint and the gorgeous Sorrow (Don't Come Around). Sadly, there are more bumps in the albums then one would've liked in getting here.