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Laura Cantrell

No Way There From Here – 2014 (Thrift Shop)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Laura Cantrell

Midway through Laura Cantrell's "No Way Home From Here," she kicks off the track "Beg or Borrow Days" with a two-step groove colored with fiddle and slightly Celtic feel. This leads to the banjo-driven "Driving Down Your Street," another rhythmic track that. And after the four melancholy, manic depressive songs in a row that precede these, it's a little like a light going on. But then again, the opener, "All the Girls Are Complicated," should give you a clue that women - when they're being completely honest about their feelings - can be quite serious, and many times sad.

Cantrell has an unusual knack for sounding sad, without coming off like she's crying for pity. With her sweet, gentle voice, she tells stories that mostly describe quietly desperate lives. "When it comes to you I'm just helpless all the time," she admits during "When It Comes to You." Nothing summarizes her typical characters better than the woman described during "Can't Wait." "Singing in the kitchen with the radio on/Pouring out my heart to an old love song." These are many times songs about women who do more waiting for their meaningful lives to start, than actually living them.

Cantrell's world is a long way from the glitzy soap opera presented on ABC's Nashville each week. Her songs are peopled by the ones that watch the show on TV instead, and usually alone. "No Way Home From Here " may be particularly sad, but if you're not wasting long hours singing to the kitchen radio, it might make you realize your life isn't so bad after all.