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Maggie Brown

Maggie Brown – 2004 (Riverside)

Reviewed by T.J. Simon

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CDs by Maggie Brown

On her debut recording, Louisiana native Maggie Brown delivers easygoing country blues in the tradition of Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi or Toni Price. In fact, the similarities between Brown's voice and music and Raitt's signature sound are too great to be ignored. For this reason, some may call the album derivative, but the quality of the disc is ultimately good news for fans of the genre.

The album's best track is the jaunty "Used Cars," where Brown explores the parallels between selling yourself on a romance that could never work with selling used cars on a lot. It's a great number that ranks among the finest country singles of 2004. The other highlight is "Wasted," a song from the catalog of Nashville songwriter Wayne Kirkpatrick. Although consistently pleasing to the ears, Brown isn't breaking any new thematic ground as she croons about escaping the past ("Forty Dollars"), unrequited love ("Nowhere to Go But Crazy') and the miracle of children ("Jacob's Eyes"). Her lyrics are simple but decidedly poetic. "Mosquito Net," for example, recounts an erotic encounter on a small plantation with a farmhand using uniquely vivid imagery.

Through top-notch instrumentation, polished production and solid songwriting, Brown's has created an extraordinary debut that will make listeners look forward to future releases.