What’s cool about Claire Lynch is that she’s comfortable enough in her own skin to be completely confident in her unique singing voice and style. Her latest album, Dear Sister, features five songs written or co-written by Lynch along with other carefully chosen gems. What’s refreshing about this recording is Lynch sticks with her excellent band on all of the cuts. While there are guest musicians here and there, most of the solos and core of the tunes are in the capable hands of Mark Schatz on bass, Bryan McDowell on fiddle and mandolin, and the underrated Matt Wingate on guitar and mandolin.
The best of Lynch’s songs include “Once The Teardrops Start To Fall,” co-written with Craig Fuller with a slinky bass line and a swampy beat, and “How Many Moons,” co-written with Don Dunn. The IBMA-nominated Dear Sister finds Lynch working with songwriter Louisa Branscomb on a song based on the book titled Dear Sister: Civil War Letters To A Sister In Alabama. The volume, written by Branscomb’s cousin Frank Chappel, compiles letters written by four soldier brothers to their sister, Lucinda Hunter, who lived in Union Springs, Ala. The song is full of poignant descriptions of those times of turmoil 150 years ago. Lynch also shows much love for the songwriting of Sarah Siskind, including the soaring “Doin’ Time.” Co-written by Al Anderson, it may be the best cut on the album.
The album is produced by Garry West and includes guest musicians Rob Ickes on resonator guitar, Alison Brown on banjo, Larry Atamanuik on drums, Mike Johnson on Pedabro, Mark T. Jordan on the Hammond B3 organ, Kenny Malone on percussion, and Tim O’Brien on harmony vocals and bouzouki. (Compass Records, 916 19th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212, www.compassrecords.com.)DH