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Florence Dore

Perfect City – 2001 (Miss Ruby)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by Florence Dore

"I'm always looking for a soul in music and also in academics. If it's not there, then it wanks, and I'm like, 'Fuck it, I'm not interested,'" Florence Dore told the Cleveland Free Times last year. Not exactly the brand of eloquence you'd expect from a college lit. professor (perhaps that was the point), but then, you wouldn't expect one to release an album of rootsy, country-tinged originals, either.

Good Professor Dore proves herself a worthy musician on her 10-song debut, produced by Steve Earle guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel. Self-described as "emotionally articulate," Dore chooses the images in her straightforward lyrics carefully. Songs with seemingly wistful titles like "Christmas," "Everything I Dreamed," and "Postcard" are in fact mature contemplations of frustrated love, told at the moment the speaker awakes from her romantic dreams. Her vocals match the unflinching realism of her songs. Even when she sings softly on a number like "Wintertown," there is no vulnerability in Dore's voice. Its gritty nasal quality is a welcome change, and at times Dore can sound pleasingly bitchy. She practically meows on the song "Brain."

Dore's accompaniment further enhances her songs, and includes Ambel on various keyboards and guitars, Chris Erikson confidently playing lead guitar, and former Smithereen Dennis Diken on drums. ( E-Mail:missrubyrecords@aol.com)