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Corinne West

Second Sight – 2007 (Make)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Corinne West

San Francisco-based folkie Corinne West tastefully imbues banjo-laden bluegrass with touches of New Age and soul. An enigmatic singer-songwriter, she has crafted a sweetly sung disc that alternately revels and weeps.

Vocally, West channels the sound of Rosanne Cash via Nanci Griffith. Understated and pitch perfect, her sound contains underlying elements of passion and heartache, best exemplified in the riveting blues of "Roses to Rust." Often her pain is subtly expressed through reflective metaphors a la ""Hand Full of Gold," "Eye of the Storm" or the breathtakingly fragile "Writing on the Wall." Further, West hints that she is on the verge of breaking on classy hurtin' songs ("Lost and Found" and "Second Sight")

West's command of complex emotions is pleasing. She gives full vent to her rebellious wanderlust on "Hell Yes," seeks absolution in the rustic living chronicled in "Cabin Door" and rejoices nostalgically in "Gandy Dancer."

Throughout, her studio ensemble - particularly Mike Marshall on mandolin and Tony Furtado on banjo - backs her with acoustic fire and interpretive precision. Moreover, West's own back-up vocals and the subtle use of Hammond organ, provide enough production punch to transform her sophomore release into a genuine triumph.