The people behind Reese's Peanut Butter Cups once ran a successful series of ads that played off the idea of two very good things - peanut butter and chocolate - joining forces to create something wherein the sum was greater than the individual parts.
Such, it seems to me, is the case when country meets rock. Ever since the late sixties, when rock had become established enough as a genre to start looking back to its own roots, the two musical flavours have been an ideal combination, country taming some of rock's immaturity and excess, rock contributing an irresistible backbeat to keep things rolling along.
Which brings us to Florence Dore. A Professor of American Literature, she seems an unlikely candidate for hanging out in honky tonks. But she's also a native of Nashville, and spent the better part of the eighties kicking around Boston's garage-band scene. (Florence caught the musical bug at the age of eight, when her mother pulled her out of school to see Johnny Cash at the Opry!).
"Perfect City" is Florence's debut disc, a ten-song all-original platter originally released independently and now picked up by Slewfoot records. It's a near-perfect blend of country and rock, with traces of folk and a bluesy sensibility throughout. Ms. Dore's a Faulkner specialist, and while one can't quite imagine ol' Will tearing it up down at the roadhouse, there's something here of his sense of people and place; Florence is a keen observer, fully aware of the inherent sadness and hidden sorrow of everyday life.
Florence has been compared more than once to Lucinda Williams, although her voice is much less mannered, more natural; there's much of Lucinda's earthy world-weariness, but it's tempered by a slightly nasal, almost ethereal beauty reminiscent of Kelly Willis.
For the most part the arrangements are well-considered, but on the whole the disc loses marks for both too busy and too prominent drumming; so much crashing and bashing gets tiring. That said, "Perfect City" is a fine outing, with an above average lyrical intelligence and a fine melodic sensibility.
One gets the sense that Florence is far too smart for Nashville; that's Nashville's loss. It may make it harder to find, but if you're a fan of country-rock, seek this one out; you won't be disappointed.
Your purchase through this Amazon.com link helps to support this website.
Simply click on the cover at left or the Amazon buy button (if there is one) to order this CD NOW!
"This review is copyright © 2003 by John Taylor, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: firstname.lastname@example.org indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $50.
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ email@example.com with any questions.