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Pieta Brown

In The Cool – 2005 (Valley Entertainment)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Pieta Brown

"These days / I turn the radio on," sings Pieta Brown on her new album, "and it's just one clear channel playing the same songs / but those lonesome songs weren't meant for radio / they live in a room that's warm and full." So goes a cute little joke (the reference to a "clear channel" is too pointed to be casual) on "In The Cool," a disc filled with so-called "lonesome songs" about love and memories from a budding folk singer.

Brown, daughter of Greg Brown, has an open-air voice that brings Edie Brickell to mind, except that her elliptical lyrics are married to blues or folk settings, courtesy of a crack band that includes producer/guitarist Bo Ramsey and organist Kevin McKendree. The musical settings often make the songs, despite a certain vagueness in the lyrics that can leave a listener wanting just a smidgen more detail about some of the wistful thinkers to whom Brown gives voice. The lead track, "#807" is filled with mystery while "Fourth of July" (not the Dave Alvin song) conjures up memories of romantic interludes and humid nights - without getting too steamy.

Brown hasn't risen to the top of her powers yet, but she gives an inkling of them.