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Time to Grow

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Album Review

The Lovell Sisters are carving out their own unique niche in pop music with an acoustic sound that blends bluegrass, folk, blues, pop, and the barest hint of R&B. All three sing and play: Megan plays Dobro, Jessica tackles the fiddle, and Merlefest winner for top mandolin picker Rebecca plays mandolin and guitar. They're major attractions at American folk festivals, having previously won the Prairie Home Companion National Teen Talent Competition, and almost signed to a major label in 2008, but chose to remain on the indie 2 DefPig logo for Time to Grow, their second album. The album was recorded in Nashville, with Brent Truitt (Dixie Chicks, Alison Krauss) co-producing with the three sisters. Like Krauss, the Lovells have a way of playing traditional music that will appeal to mainstream, non-country-loving listeners. For these sessions, studio vets Viktor Krauss and Jeff Taylor joined the fun, but the Lovells were up to the challenge and turn in some blazing solos as well as their trademark harmonies. They also step out as songwriters with five solid originals. The title track is a "farewell babe I've got to go 'cause I'm in a band" tune, and it sounds great coming from the viewpoint of a woman for a change. Megan's Dobro provides the required feel of the breezy open road while Jessica lays down some bluesy fiddling. "Distance," which won the John Lennon Songwriting Prize in 2008 for Best Country Song, is a strong country/pop effort; "Take One Moment" is a nostalgic ode to a lost love with a country flavor intensified by Paul Franklin's pedal steel and Megan's stinging Dobro; "Subway Song" is a showcase for Megan's bluesy Dobro and Rebecca's heartfelt vocals; and "Paulita Maxwell" is a fine bad-man ballad that tips its hat to both folk and country traditions. On the covers the sisters show off their arranging prowess as well as their instrumental ability. They wail on "In My Time of Dyin'," giving it a ragtime feel with fine rhythm guitar by Rebecca and Megan's solid Dobro work. "Ichetucknee Chutney" is a bluegrass/pop instrumental with a stop-and-start arrangement that gives each sister a turn to lay down some impressive solo work, while the moody "Door in the Wall" lets them explore the bluer, jazzier side of their playing. The album closer, "You Remain," is a sad country song that sounds like a hit with its aching harmonies, Rebecca's desolate vocal, and intense pedal steel fills. ~ j. poet, Rovi


Formed: 2004 in Calhoun, GA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

The Lovell Sisters received their first big break in 2005, when the acoustic trio won a teen talent contest sponsored by Prairie Home Companion. The three siblings -- fiddler Jessica, Dobro player Megan, and mandolinist Rebecca -- had previously studied classical music in Calhoun, GA, where they took part in the city's youth symphony and sang in a local church choir. After hearing a recording by bluegrass artist Jerry Douglas, the Lovells decided to ditch their classical instruments and pursue roots...
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Time to Grow, The Lovell Sisters
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