Terri Binion


Richter Records RR 0010

The letter –a- in which the term americana ends points at femininity, right? That must be why the girls are doing so well, obviously. Here’s yet another one: Terri Binion mixes the spirit of namesake Terri Hendrix with the refinement that is characteristic of the Boston folk scene and sometimes even reminiscent of Janis Ian. She is not exactly a rookie after 20 years on the Orlanda music scene and on this, her second album, seven years after her self-released debut Leavin’ This Town, she has definitely succeeded in coining a sound all her own. These ten, self-penned tracks amply testify to her love of earthy, simple melody and structure and refined, poetic storytelling. Her backing-band The Bible Belt Orphans provide fine, ingenious back-up work. It is the tasteful use of traditional instruments like a country fiddle or an accordion in particular plus the same disarming Southern drawl that drew so many devotees to Jody Foster and Mary Gauthier that provide the icing on a cake full of well-crafted and well-played songs in which bruised, ordinary folk are preserved from oblivion. There’s the bluegrass diva in the haunting opening track Gayle-Anne, on which none other than fan Lucinda Williams comes up with harmony vocals. There’s the wife in All She Ever Dreamed and the persona in the title track Fool is yet another one: she could have been a whole lot more than she is now. A song as hurting as they come.  The arrangements cover a broad spectrum of textures; a New Orleans Mardi grass band drops in all of a sudden in Dreams Worn Thin, there’s a gentle, subtle mandolin in Sittin’ Here Dreamin’  and the electric guitar rocks like –uhm- heck in Dear Richard. That her songwriting is deeply rooted in tradition finds ample proof in the ghost track, her tribute to her half-uncle Elwood Binion who relates an old family tale from way back when. Only a Fool will not rush into the treasure vault that this album is.

Bert van Kessel


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