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Angels & Cigarettes

Eliza Carthy
Angels & Cigarettes
Warner Bros.

Only 25, the fiddle-playing daughter of British folk innovators Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson displays a deft songwriting ability. Her stunning major-label debut defies trends as she skillfully weaves modern technology into the mystical music of the ancients. The result is a striking album with pop sensibilities that sounds fresh yet timeless. From the seductively voyeuristic "Train Song" to the swirling disco beats of "Beautiful Girl" to the island lilt of "Perfect," the recording displays maturity and poise. Carthy's edgy poetic verses attack serious subjects (including the secret loss of an unborn child on "Poor Little Me"), and her sweet, smoky vocals give tremendous power to her unusual as original material. Highlights include the jazzy first single, "Whole," the entrancing "Wildwood" (written by Paul Weller) and the orchestral "The Company of Men," with the frank lyrics "I've given blow jobs on couches to men who didn't want me anymore/Why they didn't tell me before I have never been sure/And I've sat and listened for hours to boys that I'm not sure I liked/My evenings have passed me by." (Sarah Quelland)

Little Sparrow

Dolly Parton
Little Sparrow
Sugar Hill

Recently Dolly Parton joked on The Late Show With David Letterman that she had to get rich before she could afford the luxury of singing like she was poor again. After the success of her first acclaimed departure from mainstream country music, The Grass Is Blue, the country star returns with Little Sparrow. Dubbing her sweet blend of bluegrass and traditional Appalachian mountain music "blue mountain music," Parton offers a beautiful collection of simple-sounding acoustic songs full of heartbreak and harmony. One of her originals, "Down from Dover," is a sad tale of a young pregnant girl abandoned by her lover and condemned by her family. While "Bluer Pastures," serves as a reminder that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, the spirited "Marry Me" takes a young, flirty approach. In addition to the inspirational "Sweet By and By," Parton makes "Seven Bridges Road," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," "The Beautiful Lie" and "Shine"--made popular by the Eagles, Frank Sinatra, the Louvin Brothers, the Amazing Rhythm Aces and Collective Soul, respectively--her own. (SQ)

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From the March 15-21, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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