Sunday, April 08, 2007

now playing: Terri Allard

Choosing love, choosing hope, celebrating those choices through life’s twists and turns: if there’s a theme running through the thirteen cuts on Terri Allard’s latest release, Live from Charlottesville, that would be it. The music is a mix of country, folk, Americana, and blues, served with a dash of laughter and a seasoning of reflection. Allard kicks things off with Wings of Love, in which she remembers and reminds that it’s necessary to trust taking time for love in the midst of the clatter of other demands. A rocking bluesy cover of the Traveling Wilburys song Rattled follows.

At this show, recorded on an icy winter night last year at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Allard chose include a number songs she’d never put on record. It’s a wise, and confident, choice; Allard is a writer on par with her down the road neighbor Mary Chapin Carpenter, who co wrote one of the songs here with Allard, and whose long time buddy John Jennings plays guitar on a couple of tracks. She sings in a smoky, inviting alto with a natural storyteller’s gift, and there’s just enough interaction with her audience to give a sense of the connections which happened on the night.

There’s a solid mix of fun and and insight, from songs like Once Upon a Time, in which the protagonist is looking for prince charming but ‘just can’t get past once upon a time’ to the quiet, engaging and reflective piece called Hope, which could just be the centerpiece of the album. Upbeat Back to Barboursville is a lasting evocation of growing up in a small town, while We’ll Have Elvis is a funny and engaging road trip fueled in equal parts by The King, Patsy Cline, and NPR.

Allard often closes her live shows these days with Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927, and she does that here, in a a soulful duet with her dad, Bill Allard. Heart, soul, fun, great songs and great singing set the atmosphere of a fine live show, Terri Allard’s Live from Charlottesville will make you wish you’d been at the gig and glad you’re able to share the music and the memories through this recording.

You may also wish to see
Road Trip Music in Viginia, including a project Terri Allard worked on called I Used to Know the Names of All the Stars
Learn about Calling Me Home. an album from Kathy Mattea

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