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Christy McWilson

Bed of Roses – 2002 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Tamara Bunnell

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CDs by Christy McWilson

For fans of Seattle music, Christy McWilson' is well known. From her early '80s work with the new wave outfit Dynette Set to the more recent Picketts and her critically acclaimed first solo release, McWilson established herself as a visible, if reticently so, lead vocalist and song writer. With this second solo release, she emerges as an artist primed for, and deserving of, wider recognition.

McWilson's lyrics weave vivid natural imagery with personal melancholy for an effect that is striking. Her warm voice is achingly beautiful, especially on slower songs such as "Serpentine River," quite simply one of the best songs out this year. The honky tonk snarl more common in her work with the Picketts than her first solo cd resurfaces on this release, and the two sounds blend easily.

McWilson teams up with long time friend Dave Alvin, who produced and called in a few mutual friends, such as Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey (also McWilson's husband) and former Picketts drummer Blackie. McWilson and Alvin team up vocally on "805," an excellent pairing. Overall, this is an outstanding release.