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Paved Country

Deconstructing Paradise – 2000 (Paved Country)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Paved Country

There is something oddly appropriate about Paved Country's name. The band, essentially the dynamic duo of Marjie Alonso and Sarah Mendelsohn, presentthe energy and perspective of the city along with the pace and philosophy of the country on its new self-released sophomore gem. Like an estrogen-fueled version of Foster and Lloyd, Alonso and Mendelsohn tear through a set that blends the best elements of pop and rock and country with none of the cloying slickness that often happens in heavier hands. The pair's vocals are the showcase here, with Alonso offering a duskier, smokier take on Mary Chapin Carpenter while Mendelsohn counterpoints with an Emmylou Harris/Cheri Knight brightness.

From the bouncy pop opener "I Wish Our Love Was New" to the sweet version of Merle Haggard's "What Am I Gonna Do" to the electric twang of "Surprise Surprise," Paved Country weaves a well-constructed sonic tapestry of several musical genres without losing its primary thread.