Rain Perry,
(independent, 2013)

Rain Perry is a southern California folkie who has had her songs recorded by performers such as Nancy Griffith and Tom Russell. Nationally, she is best known as the writer and singer of "Beautiful Tree," which served as the theme song for the TV series Life Unexpected, on which she made a guest appearance.

So we know she can write. How's her singing? From this record, it's hard to tell. If you're wondering what the words "understated" and "casual" really mean, a listen to this album will clarify the definitions for you. Perry definitely will never be accused of oversinging. She is tasteful and has the sort of pleasant voice that commands your attention, but maybe, on this album at least, the first of hers I've heard, she's a touch too tasteful; she never pushes, never drives the melody or sells the lyrics. It's as if she is determined to let the songs speak for themselves.

For a songwriter, maybe that's a good strategy. As a singer trying to win over an audience, maybe it's not the best choice. The songs speak, yes, but they never assert themselves, never try to win their way into your consciousness. Listening, I kept waiting for Rain Perry to break loose, to communicate some of her depths to me, but it never happened.

Mark Hallman's production does't help much, either. Everything is too calm. The instruments stroll when they should be cantering, walk when they should sprint. The overall sound is competent but not inspired.

The fact is, even in this imperfect album you can tell that Rain Perry is a talented singer and writer. Maybe next time she'll show us more of the singing talent.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

8 March 2014

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