The life of a musician, for all it's potential highs, can be quite hard sometimes. Imagine the euphoria of being signed to a major with a radio friendly hit and a support slot with a band as excellent as The Sundays only to have your label snapped up and dissected. You're out on your ear. Time to go back to that job at McDonalds.
Or maybe not. Having started out performing in bars and coffee shops in her home town of Memphis, Garrison Starr is pretty much a veteran of the industry - from gophering at a small record label to performing on the Lillith Fair tour, she's seen and done a lot, so it's no surprise to find she's bouncing back with her own self-released EP and soon an album.
More than anything, the seven tracks that make up the Somethin' To Hold You Over EP are a showcase of her beautiful voice. No matter what instruments surround it, it manages to rise above and take over with its heavy southern twang - something she'd already proven on her Geffen debut Eighteen Over Me.
So what of the songs on offer? Opener 5 Minutes is a reworking of an older song. Stripped right back from a full arrangement to just an acoustic guitar and much-improved vocals, the song seems to tell the story of how a relationship that seems perfect is short-lived and ends messily. Rhythmically, the guitar reminded me of the opening to Jewel's Down So Long. Which is nice.
Next to bat is Night and Day Stars which, despite the slightly iffy title, is gorgeous. Sounding very much like it could've come from Wilco's Being There, the song features Cracker frontman / producer (Counting Crows, Sparklehorse) David Lowery on shared vocals. A lulling, acoustic affair, it'll strum you to sleep and tuck you in while it's at it.
Things get padded out musically on I Can't Wait, the next track. Opening with a lilting piano sound, it's an upbeat, glorious little number. Even if some of the sound effects have been nicked off of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Maybe.
You should be getting the idea by now. The remaining four tracks are also beautiful, acoustic numbers bar the last - Take It Back - with seething guitar noise over a slow drum beat and that voice. Another song I should mention is Molly. Originally taken from her Geffen album, it too has been stripped back. Other than Garrison and her guitar, the only remaining extra is the vocals of Neilson Hubbard (who I'll be talking about in a future review, mark my words...).
Overall, if this is a sign of things to come from her first post-big time LP, I'm waiting with baited breath. This is what music should be - honest, free of pretention and easy on the ear. It's a shame it'll be so hard to buy (in which case I recommend you listen to it via her Web site at www.garrisonstarr.com).
8Dale Price's Score