Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Reagan Boggs - Empty Glasses, album review

Vocal of Note

Any notion of gratuitous sales-pitch innuendo in the album cover is quickly dispelled when opening track The Graves delivers its authentic country blues, acoustic guitar and banjo deftly played along with fiddle fetches all laying down a strong backdrop to Boggs’ clear vocal. The slow reverb on guitar of next Emily provides a slowed landscape for Boggs to again sing along with such a simple but potent clarity: there are no affectations, inflections or melodramas – the cheats of those with less raw talent – and emotion is conveyed in her full tone.

Title song Empty Glasses reveals its metaphor as a woman’s struggle to survive the drain on her in a relationship where she is the giver. There is a country lilt in the vocal that again seems entirely natural, and this is accompanied simply with male harmony for depth rather than prettiness. Fifth song Ready to Run once more resonates its experience, slide guitar drenching with its held notes, and Boggs is this time matched with female vocal harmony to carry the melody across this emotive musical underlay. Sixth The Storms Are On The Ocean is a country lullaby, sweetly sung over acoustic guitar, more harmony as a pretty complement. I’ve read a review of this album that invokes Emmylou, and whilst this is almost an instinctive comparison for any singing of such quality, it is not misplaced. Eighth All to Myself is as fine a vocal as that from Bonnie Raitt, the mention meant entirely to praise and commend.

This is an excellent album played by fine musicians and led by the distinctive, matured voice of Reagan Boggs.

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