Clare Burson is a hitter. She's got her eye on the ball, and she gets the wood on it, consistently. She's got an unerring musical sense about her, since the beginning, in the making of her melodies and the sculptures of words. And she's always got a talented team around her.
Her work ethic and wanderlust has made a footloose Brooklyner of her, and there she thrives, when she's not on the road. Her work continues to grow in scope and depth, which says volumes, considering how solidly it began. That was in 2001, when T Bone Burnett and the superb Mark Collie assisted in the making of Undone, the EP that marked the spot where she was standing, and everybody around heard it. But it was with co-producer Lex Price and the full-length debut The In-Between that her music hit the national radar and Best Of lists at radio and press.
Another EP followed, 5 tracks with four producers: Lex Price, Neilson Hubbard, Fognode, and David Henry, forging further into somewhat darker, edgier territory. Her second long play, this new CD Thieves sparkles with the gathered sunlight of all that road and all the efforts of her multi-talented cadre of friends, and the focused careful attention of her recordist and co-producer Fognode, who with the artist succeeds in creating an ambience so alluring and comfortable that it seems to end too soon.
As always, the friends are well picked for the time: Dennis Cronin on trumpet and vibraphonette, James DiGirolamo on keys, Joe McMahan on guitar, and Kristin Mueller on drums. When the bass is fretted, it's John Leceese; the synth bass is Travis Vance. Fognode's pedal steel work is always a pleasure, and he shows up on other "sounds," something for which he is suitably known.
The artist plays solo banjo on Lee Hazelwood's #1 pop classic for Nancy Sinatra, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'." It's a cool version, and will probably pick up some hipster airplay. But it is surrounded by gems of the artist's making, like "1000 Miles" with Peter Bradley Adams singing harmony. Burson's quiet determination and deep rooted musicality will not be denied. She's also a fine violinist, and may bust it out next time you go hear her play.
Don't just get this disc, get them all. As always, highly recommended. • Frank Goodman
our review of The In-Between