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Gravity Love

Sandra McCracken

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Album Review

Gravity Love not only serves as the album's title but also as a good way to describe Sandra McCracken's songs. The weight of love and the pull of emotions resonate throughout her tunes, be it physical, platonic, or spiritual love. A songwriter in the confessional vein, McCracken states in "Doubt" "speak it plain or leave it out," but she actually balances from-the-heart sentiments with vividly turned phrases nicely. "Innocence, we pass it down/Like corduroys with the knees worn out" articulates her love woes in a keen and imaginatively observed way, in "Long Way Away." Later on, in "Traincar," she uses the phrase "hot water screaming over the silence of my house" to describe the loneliness that comes after a relationship ends. Her songwriting restraint is readily apparent in "Goodbye George," her tribute to the George Harrison. Instead of a flowery eulogy to her late idol, she uses Harrison's lyrics and life history to create a cleverly constructed pastiche that conveys her sense of loss over his death. McCracken's work displays a Midwesterner's sense of modesty, so it's not surprising that the Nashville-based performer was born in Missouri. Missouri is also Sheryl Crow's home state and McCracken's eminently catchy "Head Over Heel" sounds like something Crow could easily have a hit with. This engaging disc opener gets followed by several other lively, melodic guitar-based numbers. The middle of the album grows a bit quiet as she slows down the pace. She does occasionally spice up her relatively unadorned folk-pop arrangements. A French accordion fuels "Traincar." A mandolin complements the social commentary in "Broken Cup." A Moog and harmonium bring a haunting quality to religious-themed "Shelter"; however, the song still doesn't quite achieve the thoroughly transcendent sound that Daniel Lanois achieved on Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball. This is not to diminish what McCracken has accomplished here. Her range of talent might be best seen on the two tunes that close the album. "Chattanooga," a terrific slice of Americana rock, precedes the spare and moving evocation of love and devotion, "All the Miles." Gravity Love establishes Sandra McCracken as a singer/songwriter on the rise.

Gravity Love, Sandra McCracken
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