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MUSIC REVIEW (Folk)
Graves, Christine
Stray

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Label: Independent Released: 10/1/2001


Christine Graves has come a long way since I last saw her playing guitar, which was in the lobby of Colonel By High School between classes, a long time ago. Not to say that she couldn't play and sing then, but now she's got three albums to her name as well as a career with acapella group Malaika on the go.

As mentioned, Stray is Graves' third full-length release and it shows - nary an amateur element is to be found in this 11-track collection. Smooth, full vocals evocative of Blue-era Joni Mitchell or occasionally Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) or early Jane Siberry carry the album through a variety of styles from the super-mellow folk of "Salvation" to jazzy latin-influenced Tom Waits song "Jockey Full of Bourbon" and the Jr. Gone Wild country shuffle of "Surround Me".

The poetic, personal lyrics peppered with Canadiana could stand on their own as a poetry chapbook and suit the music perfectly. Solid playing from Ottawa mainstays Pat Giunta, Ross Murray and Fred Guignion (as well as other guests) is cemented by Murray's unpresuming presence behind the recording and Graves' self-production. A perfect record to curl up with on a cool autumn night.

Steve Donnelly Email WWW

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