for June 25, 2004
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[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]
Review: Terri Hendrix' "The Art Of Removing Wallpaper"
by Bill Stella
Artist: Terri Hendrix
Album: The Art of Removing Wallpaper
Label: Wilory Records
Someplace in the energized, amplified-acoustic, country-blues ranges between Lucinda Williams and The Dixie Chicks one can find the equally accomplished but unequally appreciated Terri Hendrix. The new album features a panoply of styles, and the beautiful and unfussy production by Lloyd Maines and Terri showcases her band's command of each instrument at every turn.
- "Judgement Day" stands tall against hypocrisy, as do several tracks here, opening with "Everybody wants to use God / When they've nobody but themselves to blame" -- and steps up with soulful preaching and confident spirit start to finish.
- "Monopoly" could be on the "Supersize Me" soundtrack (but isn't). A rant at the nexus of "goodbye originality" conformity and the "There ain't no clear channel" losses of local-based businesses, "Monopoly" ends with a fun, gospel chant, worthy for use at protests wherever the FCC squelches access and choice.
- "One Night Stand" makes metaphor out of performing every night, playing music and your heart out before strangers, adding the twist of approaching middle age. It is NOT another lazy bitch-session about the plight of the touring musician.
- "One Way" is similarly vulnerable, blending a walking melody-line that evokes a country road with raga-like filligree fills.
- "It's About Time" has snappy, playful vocals (which almost make it to Manhattan Transfer territory).
- And, making the most of what could have been The Obligatory Cover Song Slot, Terri takes on LL Cool J's "I Need Love" with panache.
This is exactly the kind of deeply realized, endearing music that exemplifies the wealth of talent necessarily beyond the reach of the corporate mega-labels, and the pitfalls of getting it heard. In fact, the two songs the album concludes with are so neo-classic they could have been hits for Fleetwood Mac and Dolly Parton, respectively, in the 1980s (if they'd existed, among other theoreticals). Hendrix' classy renditions do the job of making the recordings the songs deserve, but it's sad that despite being as good as anything the aforementioned typically release, they won't be exposed to anything like as big an audience.
Between you, dear reader, and me, I know Altrok listeners aren't often exposed to either Lucinda nor The Chicks. But if you ever considered exploring a taste of their musical territory, it wouldn't hurt to try a little Terri Hendrix along the way.
©2004 Bill Stella
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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