CD Review: Anne Stott ~ PENNSYLVANIA
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Artist: Anne Stott
Album: Pennsylvania
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Anne Stott, who worked on her music career in New York City, currently resides in Provincetown, MA, but will likely always consider New York home. New York holds a large list of many great artists, a list that Anne should consider herself a part of. Collaborating with a plethora of talented artists and producer Jack Petruzelli, Anne's album Pennsylvania is a testament to her devotion to music and her extraordinary talent as a lyricist and vocalist. It begins with "Only Us," where the instrumentation may bring to mind U2, specifically Joshua Tree. Anne's voice is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant and Sinead O'Connor, but she makes it clear that this voice is still her own. Her vocals are strong, urging the listener to pay attention to the lyrics, which are bittersweet and thoughtful.

After this wonderful introduction, the album gets bluesy with "I Want To Know." The guitar sounds divine and Anne's voice is smooth and confident. Listeners may again feel the influence of Natalie Merchant in the rhythmic vocals. Next track, the aptly titled "Ghost Town" is slow to begin. There is a haunted feel, from the spectacular vocals to the violin. The lyrics are amazing and contain vivid imagery. Stott has succeeded in composing an extraordinarily original piece of music with this one and her voice is heavenly. This piece is beautifully well done all the way through.

"I Don't Know A Thing About Love" has a country vibe and it will get the feet tapping. It would be right at home in a roadside saloon somewhere in the wild west. A bit tamer than the wild west, but the composition of the piece certainly carries a western feel and would be a treat to see performed live. "Someone Else" is more rock 'n' roll than the preceding tracks and Anne's vocals sound slightly forced as she goes for the high notes. The track is solid and the lyrics are edgy and very well-written. The musicianship is likewise impressive, and there is no doubt that Stott has a diversity that is enviable.

Pennsylvania rolls onward with "Parts Unknown," another lyrically descriptive piece with wonderful acoustic guitar and a nice drum track that sounds like bongos. A song about moving on and seeking a new adventure, this song will hit home in the hearts of many. There is a sweet melancholy rhythm to this song that is beautiful and haunting. There is also a strength to this piece that is commendable, not only in the composition, but in the instrumentation and overall sound as well. "Somebody's Gotta Play Jesus" opens with organ notes that immediately bring to mind cold mornings in a dimly lit church. The listener may not warm to this track right away, but it ends up hitting harder than the others with an in-your-face delivery and thoughtful, provocative lyrics.

"The Edge Of Words" is classic Anne Stott with honest lyrics, exquisitely delivered vocals, and a soft beauty. Anne lays her heart and soul out with this one and it's a phenomenon that is graceful and painfully lovely. Listeners will relate to this with wholehearted wonder and wistfulness. The album closes with "Standing," which begins with Anne reciting a story, or maybe poetry. Initially it seems like a dubious way to end, but as it progresses the sense of a dramatic exit dawns on the listener and makes perfect sense.

Anne Stott's album Pennsylvania is dramatic all the way through, rife with honesty, lyrics from the heart, and a voice that carries these attributes expertly. The best words to describe Anne Stott's music would be hauntingly beautiful, but those are only words. You must listen for yourself and let her music take you to wherever it will.

Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

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