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Memory Girls

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Album Review

Held back for some time by legal troubles, Warren Zanes' Memory Girls is as a fine a debut as any, ranging from stripped down folk to torch song to pop orchestral. Employing a rich production style (seemingly originating with Wilco's Summerteeth), Zane's obscure, fragmented songs are augmented by a subtle electro-acoustic mix. The wonderful New Orleans ballad "Did You Recognize My Love?", for example, swirls with what sounds like accordion, clarinet, piano, before giving way to "Where We Began, which begins with treated drum beats and ambient keyboards and builds to a more traditional chorus (albeit still filled with nuanced production tricks). The album is also gently star-studded — Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, and Morphine's Billy Conway all lend their subtle supporting talents to the mix, placing Zane firmly in the throng of the new singer-songwriter movement.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '00s

Warren Zanes was only 17 when he joined college roots rockers the Del Fuegos, the band led by his older brother, Dan. The group had a short, sharp run in the mid- to late '80s, but then vanished off the map. Zanes followed a similarly obscure path, pursuing his bachelor's degree, and then, bit by the bug of academia, continuing on to earn two master's degrees and a doctorate. (He earned a Ph.D. in visual and cultural studies in 2002 from the University of Rochester, and would eventually land a teaching...
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Memory Girls, Warren Zanes
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