Station House Records SHR 0101
For her fourth album singer-guitar player Kara Grainger recorded twelve songs with New Orleanian Anders Osborne as her guitarist, plus a grooving rhythm section consisting of drummer J.J. Johnson, bass player David Monsey and keyboardist Ivan Neville, while hornsmen play in two songs.
Grainger wrote six of the songs alone and five with others, four of which with Osborne. Together they produced the album, deliberately choosing a direct sound.
Her sensual, lazy vocals are at the centre of it, accompanied by Nevilles hovering and wailing organ, but most of all by her guitar and Osborne’s, because both of them play electric and slide solos.
The two of them shaped the album like a gig: the first three songs are electric, grooving blues rock songs. After that, semi-acoustic, more layered songs and electric ones alternate and the album gets more balance that way.
Grainger often writes memorable melodies with influences from americana, blues and singer-songwriter, whereas classic pop structures also shine through.
Moreover, in Love will get you through the door she unmistakebly pays hommage to JJ Cale with its characteristic riffs, sharp solo and text reference, whereas Reason to be my verse echoes Curtis Mayfield’s People get ready musically.
One dimensional low is Osborne and Julia King-penned Favorite sin, which may be an equally energetic and unsurprising showstopper on stage, but drops dead at home. Those lyrics in particular deserve more restrained tension and space, like Grainger demonstrates in Freedom song. In that song and many of the others she shows that she knows very well how to long and lure.