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Kim Beggs

Blue Bones – 2010 (Black Hen)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by Kim Beggs

Kim Beggs' experiences - from working as a laborer on construction sites to living in northern Canada - have informed her development as a singer and writer. As a result, there is more genuine country attitude and insight within her art than in that of many who regularly populate today's country hit parade.

Apparent from the organ-fueled road warrior lament Honey and Crumbs is that Beggs has natural, homespun charm in her voice. Similar to select singers of Appalachian birth, her voice contains that attractive, easy warmth displaying strength and depth.

Beggs and producer Steve Dawson structured this collection wisely. Original songs blast out of the gate, establishing Beggs' voice and perspective. There is a spry loneliness filling these songs. Bitterness doesn't overwhelm Beggs; in the finest country tradition, she sounds plum pleased to be singing these occasionally mournful tales. She hits the mark throughout the collection, perhaps never more accurately as when singing of her lost brother in Firewater Bones.

The instrumentation is roots rock with country overtones. Lyrically, lively wordplay reminiscent of Loretta Lynn is customary: "Huck-tuu to you for making me blue, I wanna spit in your shoe!" (Terrible Valentine.)

It is only midway that covers are sprinkled in, beginning with an impressive interpretation of Bob Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. Gurf Morlix duets on a rustic version of Just Someone I Used to Know with Laurie Lewis contributing harmony to a pair of songs.

Based in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Beggs isn't a conventional country singer; "Blue Bones" maintains the new standard for western Canadian folk music established by John Wort Hannam, Maria Dunn, and Dave McCann.