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Humming By the Flowered Vine

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Editors’ Notes

On her third album, Laura Cantrell turns wistfulness into high art. Blessed with a charming, guileless voice whose clarity makes up for its slight thinness, this Nashville expatriate also has the kind of connoisseur's taste one might expect from the longtime host of WFMU's cult show Radio Thrift Shop. Her choice of material ranges from a curiously cheery version of the traditional murder ballad "Poor Ellen Smith" to covers of artists as major as Lucinda Williams (the brooding but ultimately transcendent "Letters") or obscure as the New York singer/songwriter Emily Spray (the lovely "14th Street"). Best of all, though, are four originals, including the melancholy Southerner-in-exile meditation "Khaki and Corduroy" and the album's highlight, the stunning, atmospheric "Bees." Featuring more expansive production and instrumentation than her previous efforts, Humming by the Flowered Vine feels like a hand extended to new fans. The best comparison here is to the sweetness of early-career Nanci Griffith, rather than Lucinda Williams's grit.

Customer Reviews

near perfect

John Peel on Cantrell's debut LP, Not the Tremblin' Kind: "[It is] my favourite record of the last ten years and possibly my life." This album is worth it for "Old Downtown" alone.

Bees

I had never heard of Laura Cantrell before, but I tried the song "Bees," and I just love it! Such a sweet, melancholy sound.

New voice to me

I'm impressed with this artist, although I haven't heard her before. She reminds me of Nancy Griffith.

Biography

Born: Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Possessing a bright clear voice that combines the vulnerability of a young girl with the intelligence and resilience of a grown woman, Laura Cantrell burst onto the international music scene in 2000 with a debut album that showcased her affecting vocals, literate songwriting, and superb taste in musicians and fellow songwriters. Cantrell, however, had followed a rather unusual path to become one of the new favorites of Americana: she moved from her home in Tennessee...
Full Bio