Reagan Boggs - Empty Glasses
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Empty Glasses (Reckless Bess, 2016)

Reagan Boggs

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

Coming on the heels of her last album, the tellingly titled "Quicksand," Reagan Boggs' latest continues to affirm her reputation as a master of emotion, a performer whose sound and delivery leave no sentiment unturned. Consequently, "Empty Glasses" becomes an equally expressive handle, given that much of the album bears a deliberately downcast disposition. That can also be discerned by reading the names of certain songs -- "Honey I'm Lost" and "Don't Know How in Particular" in particular. Nevertheless, that lowered gaze is often inspiring. Boggs' way with a ballad is nothing if not affecting, especially since nearly every track resonates like a some sort of cautionary tale that's been dictated by experience.

Happily then, "Empty Glasses" tempers its reserve with melodies that are so soothing and enticing, it's not hard to get a handle on each one straight away. The wail and moan of "The Graves" leaves no doubt as to its inspiration, while the melodious "Emily" beckons like an instant embrace. An assertive entry such as "Most of That Left" not only elevates the energy, but also affirms the fact Boggs isn't simply some starry-eyed waif who's content to simply waste away. Likewise, when she turns her attention to the sole cover, a mournful take on the traditional folk ballad "The Storms Are on the Ocean," the sense of loss and longing is palpable even at the outset.

Few artists are as capable of making an emotional imprint that's as indelible as Boggs', so suffice it to say that its best appreciated when there's minimal distraction. Nevertheless, "Empty Glasses" is the kind of album that gives a musician something on which to rest their reputation and listeners cause to follow them forward.

CDs by Reagan Boggs

Empty Glasses, 2016

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