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Marti Brom

Wise to You – 2003 (Goofin')

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Marti Brom

Marti Brom's first album in three years delivers a compelling 16-song mix of retro country, swing and electric-edged rockabilly. Recorded in Helsinki, Finland - where they care more about pure American sounds than most statesiders do - and Austin, the project exhibits more vocal character and atmosphere than discs by most of modern country's top divas.

On the country side, such small combo honky-tonk numbers as Bob Nolan's "The Rainbow's End," "My Baby's Gone" and the self-penned "Whole Lotta Lonesone," torque with the torchy of vintage Patsy Cline and Connie Smith sides. Hillbilly jumpers "Don't Stop" and "I've Got That Lovin' Bug Itch" echo with Rose Maddox sass.

Yet, the roots rock numbers pack the biggest punch. Brom growls with authority during the blues charged Nick Curran duet "I Changed My Mind Jack." Her re-invention of Dorsey Burnette's "Great Shakin' Fever" and Neil Sedaka's "Fallin'" along with such originals as "Full Grown" and "That Crazy Beat" wring with playful sexuality. Best of all, her rockabilly noir rendition of Ray Davies' (The Kinks) "I Go To Sleep" shudders with palpable heartache and longing.

Only Ted Roddy's guest vocal on "You're The Boss" sounds kitschy, everything else