on August 24, 2002
I generally ignore others' claims about an album "never leaving my CD player," because my tastes and moods change too often for that kind of thing. But "The Ring" is an exception. I've spun this thing every day since it's release in early June, and figure I'll continue to do so for a long while. As a fan of Hendrix's music, I came to this with no small amount of bias, but the leap in maturity and songwriting on this album still impresses me. Hendrix's style has often been summed up (somewhat lazily) as sunny and effervescent, and there's enough here to keep fans of that stuff happy, but it's the darker, more introspective songs that really hit home: "Spinning Off," "Nightwolves," "I Found the Lions" -- these aren't happy-go-lucky folk-pop songs. Even the bouncier tunes -- the scat-happy "From Another Planet" and catchy "Consider Me" -- are far more spice than sugar, if you can wipe the smile off your face long enough to pay attention to the lyrics. Add the moving and eloquent title track--a testament to the endurance of love-- along with Hendrix's stubborn, determined mission statement on "The Fact Is," and you've got one of the smartest and most enjoyable singer-songwriter albums of the year--or any year, for that matter.
on June 4, 2002
I bought this CD a couple of weeks ago @ her show on the riverfront in Fort Smith, Arkansas (just to explain how I got hold of it before the official release date).From what I gather,
I think Terri is holding off a bit on the release because Fathers day is so close--the title track is a tribute to her father.
This is, in general, a strong album--a more polished product than her earlier albums (which are also excellent), in short, quite highly recommended for anybody who loves the "Austin sound." Lloyd Maines provides excellent support, as always.
on October 2, 2002
Picked this up on the recommendation of a friend, and I'm loving it! She reminds me somewhat of Dar Williams (and maybe a little Rikki Lee Jones), but mostly she's in a class by herself. Great voice, phrasing, playing and writing. I love pretty much every track, but "Nightwolves" is the one I keep going back to -- it's got a nice, spooky groove that really stands out. And "Long Time Coming," I think one of maybe two tunes she didn't write, is gorgeous. Definitely worth checking out.
As far as I know, this is the first album to include a song mourning the passing of cartoonist Charles Schultz, and it puts this track right at the front, before the love songs and autobiographical material. I have a hard time envisioning another artist who would have had the chutzpah to start a disc off by remembering a bald-headed kid who kept falling for that stupid football trick. And that's what makes Terri Hendrix special.
Someone said Terri Hendrix could be the fourth Dixie Chick if she worked on her image. That's a slander, because Terri Hendrix is something the Dixie Chicks could never be: good. Her music is artfully constructed, her lyrics are poetic, her themes are meaningful, and as you listen to this album you realize she's an artist, not a radio-friendly commodity.
The lyrical sophistication of these songs suggests the heyday of Dylan and Guthrie, but the content and voice are particularly original. I can't imagine either of those luminaries writing a song about insomnia ("Night Wolves") or remembering positively Mom and Dad ("The Ring"). Even the voice in the music is distinct. Though there are strong folk-country roots, there are also hints of Celtic, jazz, rock, and other eclectic styles.
If I had been producing this album, I would have passed over the final track, "Prayer for My Friends," or moved it elsewhere in the album. It feels like a post-script, while the real album ended with the final track. Other than that, I have a hard time finding anything even remotely wrong with this album; it's that sterling.
Like most original voices, her material won't sit well with everybody, and that's okay. What matters is less whether everybody likes it than that people who like it like it very strongly. This album will most definitely hit people where they live, and stick with them for a long time to come.