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Kin: Songs by Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell


Steve Vander Woude
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I might be tempted to place this album somewhere near the bottom of the JH production discography, though I don't think it's any fault of his own-- he's working mostly with a band other than his own, and their performances are, to my ears, just a touch too genteel-- but it's still a wonderful record, with some stellar, best-ever performances from many of the singers (especially Jones and Williams, I think).

Here's my CT review, by the way.

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I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the whole album yet. I did enjoy the Fresh Air review (as well as Josh's review). The bits that I picked up made me think that there is enough talent involved in its creation that its going to be a worthwhile listen that I'll greatly enjoy.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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  • 6 months later...

I'm enjoying listening to the Lucinda Williams track here. This had fallen off my radar completely, so I'm glad to see NPR's year-end reminder.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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This has proved a frustrating album for me. It skirts tantalizingly close to greatness but doesn't quite grasp it.

The stories told in these songs are phenomenal. Heartbreaking really. Mary Karr knows how to convert her writing to the song format.

The singing is great. The playing is great. Really, it's all great--especially on a song by song basis. But as an album? I don't know. It's sequenced well but I find the compilation aesthetic a bit ... for lack of a better term ... off-putting. I can't help but think of what it might sound like if the number of contributors were reduced. It might sound a bit more coherent.

I know I'm sounding negative and I don't want that to be the last word. My complaints are really minor quibbles in what is otherwise an excellent record that has received steady play at my house.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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I love what you wrote, Kyle, and didn't take it entirely as a negative. I think I understand exactly what you're conveying. I've only heard the one song.

Would it bother you if I told you that your comments made me less likely, rather than more likely, to pick up the record? Probably. And yet I'm not completely put off by the idea of the album. I guess I've just had my expectations checked, and that's usually a good thing when/if I do explore the full CD.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Not at all Christian. I listen to it quite frequently. That being said I don't think I would be heartbroken if I never picked it up along the way. I also doubt I'm going to be going back to it much a few years down the road.

Famous last words.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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