Linda McRae Carve It To The Heart

Linda McRae’s Carve It To The Heart comes off like a dusty, reverential tribute to country music’s vast and varied back catalogue. The third solo album from the former Spirit of the West accordionist goes further in the direction of homage than McRae’s two previous solo albums, both of which were fine discs that proved McCrae’s worth as a songwriter in her own right. Here, she references all manner of country styles and sounds — from the dust bowl country of "This Winding Road” to the Cajun-meets-cowboy twang of "Little Red Shoes” — then scrambles it all up with a generous helping of banjo, her latest instrument of choice. Combining old-time-y sounds and images with universal themes of heartbreak and redemption, her lyrics are timeless and heartfelt. This is a wholly successful collection with nary a misstep, a most enjoyable listening experience and a solid addition to McRae’s impressive body of work.

(Black Hen, (Black Hen)