Exene Cervenka Somewhere Gone

Exene Cervenka Somewhere Gone
As a key figure in X and the Knitters, Cervenka has been a towering figure in the L.A. punk meets roots scene since the late '70s. This, her first solo album since 1991, ploughs folk and country terrain, but with some imaginative musical twists. One stone cold killer cut, "Surface Of The Sun," has a psychedelia meets folk feel not far removed from early Jefferson Airplane. The poetic power of such lyrics as "please write your name in fire on my forehead" are neatly complemented by female backing vocals, Dexter Romweber's keyboards and Amy Farris's violin and cello work. There's a flamenco flourish to the guitar on the title track, while public domain tune "The Willow Tree" is a traditional-sounding folk song featuring just Cervenka and Farris (on fiddle and backing vocals). One sad footnote to the record was the recent death of key contributor Farris. Exene has never sung better, and there's no trace of the shrillness that occasionally slipped into earlier work. There's a nice balance of moods here, with jaunty tunes like "Insane Thing" and "Walk Me Across The Night" (featuring Joe Terry's barrelhouse piano) offsetting the more melancholy material. This is simply superb work. (Bloodshot)