Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Claire Lynch: Crowd Favorites

Crowd Favorites

It takes only the first phrase or two of Train Long Gone, the opening cut on Crowd Favorites, for Claire Lynch to let you know she’s a singer with stories to tell and the heart and intelligence to keep you listening. She’s grounded in bluegrass -- indeed the second track, The Day That Lester Died, is a musician’s tribute to another musician, Lester Flatt. Lynch uses the bluegrass tradition to add spice and flavor to that bluesy opening track, to Harry Hipkins’ swing tune, Fallin’ in Love, and to the Cajun romp Thibodaux. Along the way there’s the restless soul with ‘the faith of a saint but the soul of a gambler’ in Gretchen Peters' song If Wishes Were Horses, the punch of the lyrics backed with spot on high speed picking, there’s the reflective woman talking with her God in Your Presence is My Favorite Gift, the road weary musicians finding hope along the way in Hills of Alabam, a pair of Civil War soldiers in a vivid vignette on life, death, and a hot summer’s day on Kennesaw Line, and the mother reflecting on the future of her son in Friends for a Lifetime.

With all that (and there’s more) it’s no wonder that Patty Loveless, John Starling, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Kathy Mattea are among those who’ve recorded Lynch’s songs and invited her to sing on their records. She’s been honored with bluegrass association awards and Grammy nominations as well.

This collection offers a few old favorites from Lynch’s early days with the Front Porch String band, newly recorded -- The Day That Lester Died and Kennesaw Line are two of those -- and a selection of what really are crowd favorites, ones that Lynch’s fans have most often asked to hear her sing. From the quiet and unexpected He Don’t Like to Talk About It to that fast ride on Train Long Gone to another train trip back through tradition on Wabash Cannonball, Claire Lynch offers a collection that shows her to be not only one of the best singers going in bluegrass today, but also a musician with a taste for songs and stories that last.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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