Linda Dunn,
Linda Dunn
(Prime CD, 1998)

"Streetlights cast their circles just like
stepping stones
She sticks to them like a childhood game
so afraid to be walking along
She listens hard for footsteps
when she's got the heart
But sometimes its easier to avoid the dark."

With long-suffering lyrics, memorable melodies and a voice smooth and thick like a fresh-poured cup of hot chocolate, Linda Dunn is poetry in motion.

Sung with wisdom and conviction, "Bastard Amber" reveals feelings exposed when held up to a night light. Stunningly introspective and instrumentally inspiring, this track provides exquisite insight into an undesired sexual encounter. Although a star in a sky of many, this song far outshines the rest.

More hopeful, "This Time Tomorrow" is a snappy, movin' on song. A headstrong Dunn won't let anyone hold her back, and tells them so in "Be Somewhere Else." "Be somewhere else," she says, "you're standing in my light."

"Fortune's Courtesan" continues Dunn's unique but folksy style, with a noticeable heartbeat. Her passion shows not only in her spirited lyrics, but in the beat and strum of her acoustic guitar. In "A Broken Heart is a Terrible Thing" she sings the blues, proving her multifaceted talent.

A slow, beautiful melody of regret, "Sorry for the Rain" provides a soft apology for things that don't work out. But you will not linger in lament for long as you will soon be bopping to the rhythm of the upbeat "Does the Future Look Black." My only problem with any of the songs lies with this song -- where the pace of the music doesn't seem to jive with the lyrics. By the way, great sax on this one!

The soft arpeggio of Dunn's guitar guides us to the state of mind for "In the Chelsea," a sad, but reflective tribute to Dylan Thomas. Here, Dunn's voice portrays a fine blend of regret and perception. Along with "Bastard Amber" and "Sorry for the Rain," "In the Chelsea" makes up the top three tracks.

The blues are resurrected in "Wonder What He's Doing Now." Although my music appreciation leans more toward folk than blues, I find Dunn's bluesy musical creations extremely palatable. Next, similar to "The Future Looks Black," "Stand Down" sparks with energy and emotion. Perhaps the strangest track, "Mickey Mouse Pseudo-Zen" combines jazz, blues and Dunn's well-thought and telling signature lyrics for an interesting musical experience.

In a closing note, Dunn sings of the trials and tribulations she has put her personal angel through in "Guardian Angel."

Notably, Nils Lofgren plays both electric guitar and electric slide guitar -- another bonus reason to purchase this album by newcomer Dunn.

Linda Dunn's raw, memorable vocals and unique perception makes this CD a new favourite, rating among inspiring female vocalists like Suzanne Vega and Sarah McLaughlin.

[ by Lynne Remick ]

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