Erin O'Bryan,
Walk with the Saints
(Possumhat, 2002)

Her influences range from Joni Mitchell to Jewel, but Erin O'Bryan has a style all her own.

Opening with a driving title track, O'Bryan draws you into her world and has you hanging on her every word. The majority of the work here is her own. She slows down the pace on "Falling From Grace," a song with some particularly lovely lyrics.

One of my favourite tracks is "Plain Girl," which gives pride of place to her voice on a piece that is not over-produced. The sentiments of the song are very down to earth and personal, although O'Bryan looks far from plain on the insert. As with all the best of folk, contemporary or traditional, there is social comment in the lyrics. This comes across very well on "Mansions in the Sky." "Sweet Angel" is another excellent song that bears repeated listening.

If I were to pick a track for radio play it would be "No One Knows Why." It has great lyrics and again I find that Erin sounds best on the less intricate productions. Here we get to hear her sweet voice with just the right amount of an edge.

One thing I noticed on the CD is the amount of casual references to angels, grace and ghosts. Thinking about this I find that they convey the spiritual elements of O'Bryan's writing. But there is also a biting realism that will stir your conscience.

In 11 tracks, O'Bryan has provided a showcase of her writing and performing talent. Here you get a cross section of styles and heartfelt lyrics that cannot be ignored. This is an album to seek out.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 1 May 2004

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