Laurie McClain,
The Child Behind My Eyes
(Kindred Voices, 1999; 2002)

People who enjoy folk/roots/country sung in a clear and frequently plaintive style may well find this to their liking. Laurie McClain has a long history of singing, playing guitar and songwriting, but I find her clear, rather "little girl" voice somewhat metallic, and the accent grates after a while on my non-American ears.

She writes well, but you have to listen to the lyrics as they are not printed on the CD literature, but her diction and the balance between vocals and music make this no chore. She sings of her life, her surroundings, and the song "Only Four" is cute without being cloying.

The Child Behind My Eyes was re-released for a charitable cause to raise money for Mothers & Children, which is appropriately sweet; unfortunately, there are children who have had four hard years at that age, unlike the optimistic subject of this song. The a cappella rendition of the album's only cover, "Acony Bell," is gentle and pleasant on the ears. McClain has some very laudable sentiments within her lyrics, although at times the repetition of the choruses gets a tad wearisome. There are some lovely ideas in "When You Forgot to Hide," "If You Believed in Me" and "My Heaven," and the music is easy to listen to; the musicians are skilled at their respective guitars, cellos, mandolins, bass, piano, banjo, harmonica and fiddle.

McClain is clearly a talented singer-songwriter, and her website demonstrates many years of experience and several recordings, in addition to providing a gig schedule for her and her band. Unfortunately, The Child Behind My Eyes did not appeal to me. Go to her website to listen and judge for yourself.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 10 January 2004

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