Melonie Cannon: And the Wheels Turn

Acoustic country and bluegrass harmonies

For her sophomore release, Melonie Cannon moves from Skaggs’ Family to Rural Rhythm, but brings along both her bewitching alto vocals and the combination of bluegrass and country that balanced her debut. Cannon’s vocals are heavily indebted to the fragile purity of Alison Krauss, but also informed by earlier vocal stars such as Vern Gosdin and modern day stars like Chely Wright and Jo Dee Messina. She opens her latest with the pained adult memories of a drug-addicted prostitute’s abandoned daughter and the struggle to find – a bit edgier than your typical Nashville fare. The search for deliverance turns spiritual on “Send a Little Love,” but the specific situation from which salvation is sought is left to the listener’s imagination. The country-gospel original “Mary Magdalene (Why You Cryin)” sounds as if it were plucked from the Staple Singers songbook, though the acoustic guitar isn’t drenched in Pop Staples’ famous reverb.

Cannon writes and sings of troubled relationships, including the difficulty of cutting off a poorly matched mate on “I Call it Gone,” the exhaustion that leads to leaving on “I Just Don’t Have it in Me,” the late-night longing of “Dark Shadows” and the freedom of letting the past go on “I’ve Seen Enough of What’s Before You.” More happily, she finds herself awe-struck by the transformational meeting of her soulmate on “The Day Before You.” Cannon’s voice cuts through the studio with the clarity of a live performance, adding a personal presence to the autobiographical “It’s All Right There.” She visits her father Buddy Cannon’s songbook with a sweet cover of Vern Gosdin’s “Set ‘em Up Joe,” and trades verses with Willie Nelson on his “Back to Earth.” The disc ends with an acoustic tale of infidelity that turns the table on a cheating trucker and provides a fine, final helping of close harmony. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]

Listen to “I Call It Gone”
Melonie Cannon’s Home Page
Rural Rhythm’s Home Page

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