10 Songs, 33 Minutes

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Customer Reviews

Bluegrass on Ice

Worldlisteningpost.com,

Among Claire Lynch’s many talents is an uncanny ability to embody a man’s song—her angelic voice not imitating the opposite sex but simply erasing the importance of gender. She memorably personified a Civil War soldier in Kennesaw Line and on her latest album she’s a deckhand-turned-ship’s captain who spends 50 years with the love of his life, the Molly May. The song—written by J.P. and Gervais Cormier—is bittersweet, like any story of passion, and no one does bittersweet with a richer blend of radiance and nuance than Lynch. But Molly May, it turns out, is a love story within a love story: One day this bluegrass queen of Nashville got a fan letter from a man in Toronto, suggesting she fly north to perform. She did just that—and also fell in love with her pen pal and married him. In the process, she discovered what she describes as “a community of songwriters that hadn’t been on my radar.” Nine of the 10 tracks on North By South are by Canadian artists. To help import country, folk and pop songs, Lynch is aided by a who’s who of bluegrass guest musicians like Jerry Douglas on dobro, Béla Fleck on banjo and Alison Brown on guitar. The one song penned by Lynch herself, Milo, is inspired by her own story of Tennessee mockingbird meets Ontario loon—and how they work out the harmonies. There’s nothing but meat on this Grammy-nominated album, with Gordon Lightfoot’s It’s Worth Believin’ dazzling; and Old Man Luedecke’s Kingdom Come especially sweet. Bluegrass has been enriched many times over by Lynch, and now it has its own North Star.--worldlisteningpost.com

About Claire Lynch

With a high-pitched voice that's been compared to Nanci Griffith and Alison Krauss, Claire Lynch has successfully fused a background in popular music and a love of bluegrass. Born in Kingston, New York, Lynch moved with her family to Hazel Green, Alabama at the age of 12. Inspired by the pop songs of Joni Mitchell and the Beatles, Lynch sang as a youngster in an informal trio with her sisters, but it was as the singer for the bluegrass outfit the Front Porch String Band that finally brought Lynch a wider audience. The Front Porch String Band became one of the hardest-working groups in Alabama. Their self-produced debut album, Smilin' at You, released in 1977, was followed by Country Rain later the same year. In 1981, the Front Porch String Band released a self-titled, nationally distributed album on Rebel, while Claire released her solo debut, Breakin' It, on the smaller Ambush label.

Claire and her then-husband, Larry Lynch, disbanded the Front Porch String Band in 1982. Claire's songs continued to make the rounds, however, and were soon covered by Stephanie Davis ("Moonlighter"), Patty Loveless ("Some Morning Soon"), and Kathy Mattea ("Hills of Alabam'"), and Lynch was signed by Polygram to a staff writing contract. The Front Porch String Band came back together in a revamped version in 1990, and the following year the band released its comeback album, Lines & Traces. Claire Lynch's second solo album, Friends for a Lifetime, released in 1993 and reissued in 1995, was a celebration of gospel music. Her 1995 album, Moonlighter, was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Bluegrass Album. Silver and Gold was released in 1997, Lovelight followed in the spring of 2000, and Out in the Country was issued a year later.

She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005, and in March of 2006, after a six-year hiatus, she released New Day on Rounder Records, following it up three years later in 2009 with a second Rounder release, Whatcha Gonna Do. In January 2013, after a long stint with Rounder, Lynch signed a recording deal with Nashville label Compass Records, releasing the ninth solo recording of her career, Dear Sister, on the imprint later that same year. Recording as the Claire Lynch Band, she and her group released their first Christmas LP in 2015, simply titled Holiday! For her next project, Lynch enlisted producer Alison Brown to helm North by South, an album of cover songs exclusively by Canadian writers. Released in 2016, the album featured performances from Jerry Douglas and Béla Fleck, among others, on songs by Ron Sexsmith, Gordon Lightfoot, Lynn Miles, and many more. ~ Craig Harris & Steve Leggett

  • ORIGIN
    Kingston, NY
  • GENRE
    Country
  • BORN
    February 20, 1954

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