Libby Kirkpatrick Goodnight Venus

In some ways Libby Kirkpatrick would have been a much better candidate than Sarah McLachlan to lead Lilith Fair. Like McLachlan, she is a powerful female songstress and singer, but even more than her Canadian counterpart, Kirkpatrick laces her lyrics with a matter-of-fact style of new age cosmology and feminism altogether different from the Women in Song torch variety so popular of late. The singer's major label debut is an adult alternative meets roots record, and don't let the fact that it was recorded by the man behind the Dixie Chicks last album scare you; slick new country this ain't. The album's title track is a close cousin to "Building a Mystery" but with far more involved imagery and text layers — something Sarah never quite mastered. Kirkpatrick's production throughout is clean and at times buoyant but she falls prey to the snag that catches many self-produced artists. Clocking in at over an hour, with almost half the songs dragging on longer than five minutes, Goodnight Venus seems a little too self-involved leaving the listener wanting to say goodnight a few songs before the end. (Heart Music)