album reviews

Laura Cantrell
Trains and Boats and Planes
Diesel Only (2008)

Country singer Laura Cantrell isn't the most prolific songwriter; her three previous albums all featured a large number of covers. So it's no surprise that six songs on her latest EP, "Trains and Boats and Planes," are all adaptations of other people's tunes. (The EP is a digital-only release that also includes three tracks from her earlier recordings.)

But as on her full-length albums, the real focus is on Cantrell's sweet voice, not the authorship of the songs; she sings with the purity of Alison Krauss, and her gently lilting tone captures the melancholy of the Burt Bacharach tune that gives the EP its name. The travel-themed songs are her standard fare: Her takes on Roger Miller's "Train of Life" and Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" are consistent with their original versions. The one truly bizarre song choice is New Order's "Love Vigilantes," but Cantrell twists the post-punk tune into a forlorn number that fits seamlessly with her old-timey sound.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 8 August 2008, Page WE10
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