Laura Cantrell 'No Way There From Here' - Spit & Polish

After the diversion for the more countrified direction taken by Kitty Wells' Dresses Laura Cantrell returns to the path of original material written with a variety of friends and contemporaries including long-term Amy Allison. There are performances by Jim Lauderdale, Paul Burch, Paul Niehaus and Kenny Vaughan. Cantrell has stated her commitment to writing songs that are careful and deliberate. Her aim is to make them close to perfection as possible. This is what she aims for here with this new album which in many ways returns to the themes and sound of earlier albums. She is still concerned with the emotions and experiences that are attendant on everyday living - its highs and lows.

Producer Mark Nevers draws a strong performance from all those involved and Cantrell's voice is central to this. It has matured and developed from her earlier albums and is still has a distinctiveness that is immediately identifiable. The motivation is to take elements of what could be defined as the instruments played in traditional country music but using them in a way that serves the song rather than just a sound. Washday Blues is a case in point where the steel guitar underlines the wistfulness of the seemingly mundane task of doing the washing but which takes on a larger meaning in overall context.

The opening song All The Girls Are Complicated is a self-realisation of a fairly self-evident truth. Though much could be said for the other half of the human equation too. There is much on the album that intertwines her love of the traditional influences of country and southern sounds with a more pop-orientated sense of melody and structure. This finds the assembled players working in harmony with the songs. Songs which are the primary focus point and which define the album and Laura Cantrell's music at this point in time.

Laura Cantrell has many fans and No Way There From Here will take them to where they want to be.