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Album Review

The artist that Caroline Herring most brings to mind is Gillian Welch. Like Welch, Herring seems capable of conjuring up songs that sound like they were written a century ago. The Mississippi native now lives in Austin, TX, were her mournful, low-key tunes have won her a growing audience. Lantana is her third outing, and like her others, draws on her knowledge of Southern folklore, incorporating bits and pieces of lyric and melody from familiar sources and transforming them into something new and eerily familiar. Case in point, "Lay My Burden Down," which takes the bones of an old spiritual and fashions them into a celebration of eternal life with lyrics full of plain-spoken folk poetry. Herring's vocal is so delicate it almost breaks; instead she just breaks your heart. "Stone Cold World," the opener, couldn't be more different. It's the portrait of a young woman longing for love, and while she claims to be selfish, it's plain that she's more depressed and frightened. When true love finds her, she's unable to respond, and Herring's forlorn vocal and the subtle pedal steel guitar that cries in the background tells you all you need to know about her plight. "Heartbreak Tonight" peers into the life of a popular high school gal who now finds herself trapped in an empty marriage in an empty house waiting for her husband to return from the bar or casino. The portrait is painted with subtle touches, and again Herring delivers the sad news with a soft voice that intensifies the heartache and misery. "Fair and Tender Ladies" borrows its name from a well-known folk song, but it's a salute to the little acts of heroism that all women and girls perform everyday. "Paper Gown" is a gothic murder ballad, the tale of a woman drowning her children. Its matter of fact telling of the crime makes it even more chilling. The women Herring writes about are all ordinary, and extraordinary, in the ways we all are, but Herring's ability to illuminate their hearts and souls is something truly special. ~ j. poet, Rovi


Born: Canton, MS

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Contemporary folk singer/songwriter Caroline Herring was raised in a musical family in Canton, MS. Her father played guitar and her mother played piano. Naturally, her parents had her take piano lessons, but she eventually became more interested in guitar and the chance to sing her own songs. She didn't begin writing her own songs until she was a graduate student in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she took her inspiration easily enough from a city full of great songwriters....
Full Bio

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