ALLARD, "Makes No Sense"
(Reckless Abandon Music)
Terri Allard's fourth album finds the Virginia based songwriter
raising the bar on what she does with both her writing and her
sound. It's a natural progression, really, containing elements
that were present on her previous collections, such as the finely
observed character study opening the way to deeper emotion on
Brand New, the joyous serendipity in the one cover, Johnny Cash's
Get Rhythm, and the understated commitment to the power
of hope in Happy Endings. Hope, actually, is a theme of
Allard's songs here. Anna Carolyn, written from the point
of view of a dying man saying goodbye to his wife of forty years,
is a gentle, thoughtful narrative filled with just the right touch
of detail than never becomes overly sentimental. It's the only
CO-write in the project; Allard's CO-writer (and background vocalist
for the cut) is a musician to whom she's often been compared,
Mary Chapin Carpenter.
has a subtle smokey alto whose grace and passion are especially
evident on a pair of very different songs, Makes No Sense
and Bright Day, the latter a duet with Tim Anderson. In
the title track Allard submerses herself in the conflicting emotions
of a love stronger and deeper than logic and reason; for Bright
Day, she offers bittersweet yet hopeful remembrance of a friend
who's gone on, and comfort and community for those left behind.
And then she takes off and just has fun watching the shoeshine
boy slap his rag (aided by some hot riffs from frequent musical
partner Gary Green on harmonica) in Get Rhythm.
nearly a decade now, Allard has been quietly building a career
writing songs, playing festivals, opening for folk and country
top name stars, and being, as she says "too country for folk,
and too folk for country." Whatever you call it, she's good,
and just keeps getting better.