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Album Review

The debut album by singer/songwriter Mara Lee Miller (who is Bosque Brown in much the same way that Chan Marshall is Cat Power) is whisper-quiet alt-country in the style of early Gillian Welch, Damien Jurado (who helped discover Miller and plays guitar on some tracks here), and other folks who cross the troubadour style of Jimmie Rodgers or Hank Williams with the modern bedroom D.I.Y. pop aesthetic. Miller's voice bears an uncanny resemblance to that of folkie singer/songwriter Erin McKeown, with a similar girlish twang, and it's the most appealing aspect of this fairly bare-bones release. Fundamentally a set of voice and guitar demos that had a few extra instruments added to them after the fact by producer Eric Fisher, these 11 songs are so stark that the occasional bit of accordion, bass, or violin comes as a slightly rude shock. Bosque Brown's songwriting style would certainly flourish in a more integrated decorated setting, but perhaps this solo album might have been better left alone.

Biography

Formed: Denton, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Named after a river that runs through Stephenville, TX, Bosque Brown is a lightly Christian-flavored alt-country band, but is really, when all is said and done, singer and songwriter Mara Lee Miller, whose haunting, dark, and oddly hopeful and spiritual narratives are somewhat reminiscent of Gillian Welch. Growing up in Stephenville, Miller's Baptist background exposed her to countless hymns and her mother, a piano teacher, made sure her daughters knew how to play those hymns on piano. Miller, meanwhile,...
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