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Mary Alice Wood

Daisies In My Hand – 2003 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Mary Alice Wood

Mary Alice Wood's press material touts her as one who is similar to Lucinda Williams, Kasey Chambers and Steve Earle. And although this country-styled singer writes a lot of fine confessional twang, there's nothing here that marks her as the next Americana Queen. Nevertheless, Wood is still well worth a listen. When she sings ballads, such as "Souvenir," she does so with an undeniable pain in her voice.

This may be a demo, yet the playing on it is professional and tight throughout. Wood saves her two best songs for last. One is called "Every Line," and features nothing more than an acoustic fingerpicked guitar accompaniment. The song speaks with heartbreaking honesty about a loved one who has passed on. "Hey Diddle Diddle," with plenty of lyrical fun with familiar nursery rhymes, is a much more lighthearted song writing exercise. Musically, it bounces nicely with a touch of loose rockabilly swagger.

Wood's talent has earned her opening slots for countless cool performers who have passed through her St. Louis hometown, and even gained her a gig at London's prestigious Mean Fiddler club. And if there's any justice in this world, this demo will earn her a major label deal.