'Humming by the Flowered Vine' is the much-anticipated third album (and Matador debut) by Nashville-born, New York-based performer Laura Cantrell. Produced by JD Foster (Richard Buckner, Marc Ribot), 'Humming by the Flowered Vine' features ten extraordinary songs both crafted and caught. As on her two previous albums, 'When the Roses Bloom Again' and 'Not the Tremblin' Kind,' Laura's own compositions are some of the highlights. "Khaki & Corduroy" is a meditation on being a transplanted Southerner in New York City, "California Rose" was inspired by the West Coast country music pioneer Rose Maddox, and "Old Downtown" draws on the story of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York. 2005.
Laura Cantrell has exceptional taste. One listen to her celebrated radio show "Radio Thrift Shop"on WFMU and you will know this instantly, as she mixes old school country and bluegrass with the best contemporary singer-songwriters. The cover art to this, her third album, is by the superlative artist Fred Tomaselli, and her choice of arcane, literate, and lovely cover songs is exquisite: a previously unreleased Lucinda Williams
song ("Letters"), an obscure Appalachian murder ballad originally collected by her great-great aunt ("Poor Ellen Smith"), and a fabulous tune by singer-songwriter Emily Spray ("14th Street"). Of course, if good taste were all it took to be a great artist, we'd all be great artsists, right? Laura's not a crooner per se, but she has become an amazing singer, with delightful control over her voice. In fact, Cantrell sounds a lot like the long-lost, Tennessee-born sister to Linda Thompson
, especially on the Dave Schramm
-penned "And Still," and her own "Old Downtown." This is cosmic, American music, sung with subtlety and produced perfectly by JD Foster. Mike McGonigal