Ladies of the Canyon Haunted Woman

Those who recognize that this all-female Canadian quartet's name was inspired by one of Joni Mitchell's essential albums will also be able to quickly deduce what this debut by the group sounds like. By borrowing a great deal from harmony-heavy early '70s California country rock, Ladies of the Canyon aren't intent on breaking new ground. Still, given how stagnant today's mainstream country scene has become, their earnest approach is actually a breath of fresh air that should conversely remind country fans how horrible things have become. Producer Colin Cripps certainly has plenty of experience in striking the right balance between country and pop through his past work with Kathleen Edwards and Jim Cuddy, and here he basically lets the Ladies' songs and voices stand on their own. Haunted Woman is an accomplished debut; its only downside being a slickness that, at times, conjures too many bad memories of '70s AM radio. (Kindling/Warner)