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The Girl That Killed September

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Album Review

Garrison Starr, the sweet-voiced singer from Mississippi, certainly knows something about catchy hooks. On her sixth album, The Girl That Killed September, a record on which the country tinge found on her previous releases has all but disappeared, Starr writes clean, pretty, radio-friendly pop songs with discernible melodic hooks that manage to seem fresh and uncontrived and yet wholly familiar. The electric guitar driven "Understood" juxtaposes a dry, edgy verse with a deeper, plaintive chorus, and while both "Unchangeable" and "Byhalia Road" depend more on softer, acoustic guitars and would fit in perfectly on any AAA radio station, they aren't boring or soulless, instead taking advantage of Starr's emotive voice, which is nice but not naïve and changes depending on the particular mood of the song. On "Stay Home Tonight," for example, her vocals are doubletracked, sure and tough, while on "Fireworks" she sounds fragile and insecure, hardly able to get the words out, cracking before the last syllable is over. The differences aren't always drastic, but they help to present a fuller portrait, both of the singer and her body of work, so that even though most of the songs address the same issues (love, love lost, love found), there's a depth to them, even in their simplicity. "I wanna tell you I'm afraid of how much I crave the taste of you next to me" she sings in the title track, while taking a stronger stance on "40 Nights," accepting the freedom that comes with solitude and singleness. Starr isn't redefining the idea of alternative rock or even pushing any boundaries on The Girl That Killed September, but it's done well, nicely produced without sounding forced, recognizable and comforting pop music that's still exciting and fun, an album that wants and deserves to be played again and again.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Singer/songwriter Garrison Starr is an individualist with a streak of passion. Having spent her life growing up in the South, her work mixes up Nashville country twang with a hearty rock appeal. When her friends were making life plans after high school, Starr's ambition was to become a singer. She issued the homemade cassette Pinwheels upon her high-school graduation and maintained a steady schedule of coffeehouse gigs before leaving for the University of Mississippi in the fall of 1993. Starr's...
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The Girl That Killed September, Garrison Starr
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