On "Bony on the Isle of St. Helena," Kristin Andreassen's soothing singing turns the ballad about Napoleon's last days into a folksy lullaby. Andreassen's guitar and K.C. Groves's mandolin lay a foundation for most of Uncle Earl's songs, but Groves's most stunning moment comes with her crystal-clear, Alison Krauss-like vocals on "I May Never," a composition whose lyrics were penned by her mother, Carol Groves.
But Uncle Earl is clearly a collaborative effort, not a collection of talented women fighting for the spotlight. On "One True," Andreassen's gentle voice serves as a foundation for her bandmates' rich harmonies, and the prayerlike "Easy in the Early ('Til Sundown)" is a haunting a cappella song anchored by the women's stomps and hand claps.
-- Catherine P. Lewis