Tuesday 30 April 2013

Review: Hope Dunbar – Woman Like Me

Hope Dunbar – Woman Like Me (Independent)
Hope Dunbar has been singing for as long as she can remember, though always other people’s songs. That all changed a few years ago when the thirty-something, mother of three, suddenly discovered her songwriting chops – “Woman Like Me” marks her debut as a singer-songwriter.

Country-folk and Americana are her genres of choice, and fans of Patty Griffin, Julie Miller and Lucinda Williams will find much on “Woman Like Me” to enjoy. Musically, the production is full and layered, without distracting from Dunbar’s songwriting and her strong, rootsy voice. She begins her album with the title track, and it’s a doozey. Her vocals are beautifully showcased, and the rolling country rhythm, propelled by keyboards and guitar, is just perfection itself. It’s followed by “Mismatched Love” and I’m instantly reminded of “Dusty In Memphis”…

One of Dunbar’s other projects is the Star Belle Uke Trio, so it’s no real surprise when the instrument takes centre-stage on “Long Winding Road” and its folky pleasures are powerfully contrasted by the following track, the gospel influenced “Heartbreak Hotel”, a commanding performance by everyone involved, and quite possibly the best track on an album which is consistently robust. It certainly provides a compelling argument for one of the higher profile Americana labels to sign up Dunbar pronto.
Phil S.

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