Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

Laura Cantrell

No Way There From Here

2014-02-03

The fifth album from Nashville-raised and NYC-based singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell, entitled No Way There From Here, is a concise 40 minutes of well-written contemporary country songs indicative of the roots of Nashville music as opposed to the current of disposable pop fare dominating "country" radio stations. This is no surprise, as Cantrell was the host of a radio show on New York's WMFU that honored older traditions in American music. She also briefly worked as a VP on Wall Street and a contributor to the New York Times and Vanity Fair. So, given her strangely diverse background, the record's title could seem slightly confusing in nature; however, the lyrics on No Way There From Here demonstrate Cantrell's current perspective as a songwriter: aware of pressures and fears, yet optimistic and hopeful.

Most songs clock in under 4 minutes in length, with the shortest track "Driving Down Your Street" being 2 minutes and twenty seconds. So NWTFH is essentially a study in producing short songs that are breezy and simple, but say everything that needs to be said. This effectiveness is usually achieved by melodies written with acoustic guitar, piano, vocal harmonies, and the occasional organ, pedal steel guitar or fiddle riff: country-inspired, but pop-structured. The album also includes an impressive list of contributors ranging from Camera Obscura's Tracyanne Campbell, Jim Lauderdale, Paul Niehaus of Lambchop and Calexico, Caitlin Rose, Paul Burch, and others. Ultimately, strength prevails over vulnerability on No Way There From Here, all at once demonstrating Cantrell's ability as a singer-songwriter and suggesting that the title is a view of a realist, not a defeatist.

Recommended Tracks: #1 "All the Girls are Complicated", #8 "When it Comes to You", #9 "Can't Wait"

Sigmund Steiger

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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