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Audrey Auld Mezera

Texas – 2005 (Reckless)

Reviewed by T.J. Simon

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CDs by Audrey Auld Mezera

Audrey Auld Mezera is the latest import from down under in alternative country's "Australian Invasion." Her immigration to the U.S. coincides with her American debut, which was recorded in Austin with the help of Gabe Rhodes (guitar), Carrie Rodriguez (fiddle) and Kasey Chambers' dad Bill Chambers (Dobro and lap steel). The resulting disc is one of the most satisfying debut recordings in recent memory.

Her songs are vivid character-driven stories of heartbreak and heroes. "Karla Faye" is a cover of a Mary Gauthier tune about the famed Texas woman on death row. Mezera's own compositions pay homage to the people who made her the woman she is today. "Woody" is an ultra-catchy tip of the hat to Woody Guthrie, and "Billy Joe" does justice to another American musical hero, Billy Joe Shaver. Meanwhile, "My Father" tells the tale of the influence Mezera received from her dad while growing up in Tasmania.

The success of the album can be attributed to Mezera's beguiling voice and straightforward delivery. Her singing has a pretty lilt to it not unlike Iris DeMent, particularly on the achingly beautiful "Hole in My Life." She can also adeptly traverse styles within the country genre including mimicking Hank Williams on "Ball and Chain" and the ethereal sound of Emmylou Harris on "Song for Harlan." Fans of Texas-style country served with a twist will be sure to love this recording.