Before she was one half of recent blogosphere favorites The Weepies, Deb Talan was a solo singer-songwriter whose albums overflow with surprisingly touching acoustic guitar-playing and plaintive, sincere lyrics sung in a sweet little-girl voice. Thankgiving, off Talan's first non-live solo album, is an especially stunning showcase, a rich musical paean to an unnamed soulmate which easily anticipates the strong songwriting and clear production which made her and new musical partner Steve Tannen the darlings of the net. Buy Something Burning, and impress the heck out of those who think The Weepies sprang out of nowhere.
Chris Smither has been around forever -- his early songs were making the likes of Bonnie Raitt famous way back in the seventies -- but the oft-modern production value of his newer albums does little to obscure what is, at heart, one of the best barebones bluesmen performing today. That slide guitar, that raspy voice, that stomping foot! Thanks to You may be a little raucous for the usual late-night, but turned down a bit, I could happily fall asleep to that gorgeous guitar every night. Better, the song says what I wish I could have said first -- I know I'm a sinner, but my life works out; I could take the credit but it's thanks to you... Buy Small Revelations, and you're in for a big one.
Last but not least, a true clasic -- Maurice Chevalier's infamous paean to the pre-nubile Thank Heaven For Little Girls. It's a song no one could ever get away with in today's world, especially in that smarmy french accent, but the sheer kitch value is priceless, and that mellow voice with all those strings behind it make it a perfect latenight peace prayer for anyone (like myself) with small, overhyper female children that keep them up late. I got the song off That's What Little Girls Are Made Of, an album of songs for daddies with daughters which includes such other dubious delights as a whistle-laden cover of "Isn't She Lovely" by James Taylor's moremellow brother Livingston.
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