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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Amy Allison

eclectic reviews and opinions

Amy Allison

The Maudlin Years

(Koch, 1996)

A year or so ago I still had enough anti-country music prejudice that I doubt I would have made it through this record more than once; now I find myself putting it on again and again.

Funny what life does to ya, huh?

Allison has got one of those "distinctive" voices. She doesn't sound as much like she's trying to decide whether to keep singing or to burst into tears as, say, George Jones, but she's pretty close, and if you can't tolerate a twangy voice, well... you'll be in the same boat I was in a year ago, where I would not have been able to appreciate Allison's wry but lugubrious songwriting.

My loss, or yours, or whatever. Titles like "The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter," in which Allison opts for something a little more vision-correcting than beer goggles, pretty much tell the story here -- broken-hearted, mostly slow, and heavily ironic laments for loves gone astray in the traditional country music ways -- plenty o' drinkin' and a-cheatin' goin' on in these here tunes.

The opening slant rhyme couplet sets the stage for most of the record:

I've been drinking vodka
And thinking 'bout ya

One of my favorites is "Holding the Baby" (while you're out running wild):

Our little girl is going on three years now
And sometimes it's enough to make me weep
For the only time she ever sees her daddy
He's face down on the carpet fast asleep.

It's worth mentioning that the band backing her up is quite adequate to the task of weeping along, especially on the cuts featuring Simon Heathcote on lead guitar.

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