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Back Home

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Album Review

Back Home, Tret Fure's fifth solo album, is also her first in 11 years. Of course, she hasn't gone without recording during that period. But for most of the 1990s, she was part of a duo with Cris Williamson that produced the albums Postcards from Paradise (1993), Between the Covers (1997), and Radio Quiet (1999). Now, that personal and professional partnership is over. Although two songs on Back Home, "Bringing Up the Girl" and "Closer to My Sons," are co-compositions by Fure and Williamson, that's the extent of Williamson's involvement; she doesn't even get a "thank you" in the acknowledgements. Fure doesn't address the breakup specifically, although in those acknowledgements she writes, "I am so grateful for all the love I have received in this time of great transition." In the poetic lyrics to the album's songs, she sometimes alludes to that transition, singing, for example, in the leadoff track, "This Train," "I've searched for love and I've found it whole/But a drifting heart and a wandering soul/Kept me moving down this eastbound line/Picking up pieces of what I thought was mine." And there is also a mood of depression that keeps turning up in phrases like "the crease of anguish" ("Angel of Love") and "a veil of deep regret" ("All over Town"), and the declarations "I'm tearing apart" ("High Wire"), and "I am breaking in two" ("Willing"). But such admissions of the negative are usually followed by determined expressions of a willingness to overcome and go on. The album's strongest songs are its most specific ones, songs that hark back to the songwriter's Midwestern farming background, such as "Ancestors," a reflection on grandparents that is reminiscent of Kathy Mattea's country hit "Where've You Been," but far less sentimental, and "Closer to My Sons." Since Fure is classified as a women's music artist, it is perhaps worth noting that anyone unaware of that designation might not suspect it by listening to this album; rather, it comes off simply as a singer/songwriter collection of folk-rock tunes. In fact, Fure's musical approach on the disc deserves special comment, particularly in comparison to her 1990 album Time Turns the Moon, which had a timely pop/rock style for its day. Here, Fure has constructed essentially an augmented folk sound, with her acoustic guitar, playing some very familiar folk fingerpicking and chord patterns, the dominant instrument. That's in keeping with the overall point of the album, expressed as well in the lyrics and, of course, in the title. This is Tret Fure going "back home" to her rural past and her individual present, determined to carry on regardless of adversity.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Pop/rocker Tret Fure's personal background is as diverse as her many musical talents. Born in Iowa, she grew up in Illinois and Michigan's upper peninsula, turning professional at 16 to sing in coffeehouses and on college campuses before moving to the West Coast to attend the University of California at Berkeley. She began her music-writing career when she was 19, and worked for a time as a vocalist and guitarist for Spencer Davis, appearing on and composing music for his album Mousetrap (United...
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Back Home, Tret Fure
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