Reviews: Jamie Anderson, Better Than Chocolate and The Pines, Tremolo

My goodness she's happy.

Jamie Anderson
Better Than Chocolate
[Tsunami (2010)]

Jamie Anderson has written reviews and articles for such music magazines as “Acoustic Guitar” and “Sing Out!” But, with 5-song EP, “Better Than Chocolate,” her 10th recording, the Ottawa-based Anderson continues to prove that she’s no mere scribe. Stepping into the spotlight to sing the words that she’s penned, she sets her vocals to the light jazz/pop accompaniment of Asheville, NC-based world-jazz-classical fusion trio (Chris Rosser (piano), River Guerguerian (percussion), and Eliot Wapodian (bass)), along with Kara Barnard (mandolin), Hollis Brown (violin), Lou Newman (bass), and Kimberly Kornegay (vocals). In the space of less than 20 minutes, Anderson pays homage to her father (“My Dad Loves To Sing”), looks at body image (“Beautiful”), provides a soon-to-be pledge time standard (“Public Radio”), and offers one of the truly great kiss-off songs with an acoustic version of the previously released, “Her Problem Now.”

—Craig Harris (Chicopee, MA)

The Pines
[Red House Records RHR CD 222 (2009)]

The Pines are at home in territory more or less discovered by Bob Dylan and the wave of singer-songwriters that came after him: literate, personal examinations of life’s rich pageant set to a country blues with Appalachian edginess and gloom. Benson Ramsey’s raspy tenor does not rise and fall much and takes on its greatest urgency when he covers Missisissippi John Hurt’s “Spike Driver Blues.” Ramsey and David Huckfelt’s flat-picking is deft and tightly interlaced, but never showy. Bo Ramsey (father, producer) lends atmospheric guitar and is part of a studio band that never draws attention away from the moody narratives that define the sound of The Pines.

—Bill Chaisson (Trumansburg, NY)

2 comments on “Reviews: Jamie Anderson, Better Than Chocolate and The Pines, Tremolo

  1. Thanks for the nice review. However, I’ve never lived in Utah. I’m originally from Arizona and North Carolina. I now reside in Ottawa, Canada.

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