In the last couple of weeks I’ve written about North Of Nashville and True North. Unwittingly, I was leading up to this week’s review–Anna Lynch. As residents of Anchorage, Alaska, Anna and her bandmates are waaaay north of Nashville. You’d never know that by listening to Anna’s self-titled release, though. It has love songs and break-up songs, lots of tasty fiddle and mandolin parts, and a je ne sais quoi that seems born of a youthful fascination with honky-tonks. It could just as easily have come from the mountains of east Tennessee.
Lyrically, Anna does show some Alaskan form with stories than have a pretty independent streak to their perspective. Gone And Back is in some ways a female viewpoint on the male attitude that dominates classics like Ramblin’ Man and Free Bird. Railroad Man likewise covers that rambling spirit. Baby Don’t Go To Work is a bluesy song about convincing someone to shirk their responsibility for the sake of love. Not A Love Song is, of course, exactly that, but Anna confesses at the end that “I’ll never admit I’m wrong.”
Bandmates Peter Hamre on guitar, Garren Volper on bass, and Amanda Kerr on fiddle provide a solid background for Lynch’s lyrics. You don’t really notice the instruments the first couple of listens, but gradually you realize how much subtle texture they’re contributing. They play so well together, transitioning from solos to harmonies to just a presence, you picture long, sunless, winter weekends cooped up indoors with nothing to do but hone their craft. I suspect that’s hardly the case, but it’s a musically romantic notion nonetheless.
I’ll wrap this up with my favorite verse from the disc, “boys in bars and Beer In Jars keep the blues away”. True that, no matter how far north you are.