added: 27 Mar 2011 reviewer: Owen Gillham
Eliza Lynn Together
Subtlety is a great thing I guess, but can a great thing afford to be subtle…? I guess the fact of the matter is (and I speak from the vantage point of experience here) that unless you shout loud enough, most of the time you won’t be heard. And I fear that this wonderful, wonderful (yes, I meant to repeat it, lest saying it the one time was too subtle) album may be a case in point. So allow me to do some shouting on its behalf. The premise is pretty simple, but inherently ‘quirky’: It's an album of cover versions performed by an emerging American singer-songwriter backed by a sympathetic, almost entirely acoustic band… and then there’s the quirky bit. The twist is that it’s also a community project of sorts with all the material chosen and co-produced by people other than Lynn herself – her fans were asked to decide what she should sing and how she should sing it. Okay, so as ‘quirky’ goes, maybe it’s not that mind-blowing, I mean we’ve all seen this song and dance plenty of times before (and often for all the wrong reasons), but you have to concede that, in this instance, for such a little-known artist to hand her craft over to ‘the fans’ in such a committed way is a brave move. Regardless, the gamble pays dividends and ‘Together’ is a record brimming with a sense of warmth that is palpable. Solidly performed, but imbued with a certainty and self-assuredness that stretches beyond the effortless musicianship on display. Granted, it loses pace a couple of times (most notably during an a capella rendition of “Sit Down Servant”) and there are moments here and there when Lynn sounds a little hesitant, but the odd slip up is more than compensated for by the whole. Sit back, enjoy and then go tell your friends about an amazing album they probably won’t get to hear about by any other means.