Liane Edwards – Raisin’ Dust
Liane Edwards’ twenty year career in country and Americana music has led her to the latest peak in her career spanning seven albums and countless live appearances in a variety of venues. Her veteran skills are on full display here with a diverse and emotionally rich performance reaching over a dozen songs and brimming with the sort of life one might expect from a much younger performer. Edwards could be forgiven for showing some signs of stagnation this far on in her career, but it is apparent she continues to challenge herself with the same rigorous desire to excel that has characterized her preceding six albums. She’s joined by Trace Adkins’ ace guitarist Brian Wooten who brings his sure-handed six string prowess to the songs with terrific results. Liane Edwards has hit another home run with Raisin’ Dust and conclusively proves she’s far from being mired in creative dead ends.
Defy anyone to find signs of dead ends on this collection. They can’t. Raisin’ Dust gets off to a particularly auspicious start with first track “Rainy Day”. This has the most commercial potential of any songs on the album and its spot leading off this release shows she’s clearly intent on putting her best foot forward. Brian Wooten’s guitar contributions to the album are effective throughout, but he really soars on Raisin’ Dust’s best songs and this is one of the most prominent examples. Edwards loves to embrace traditional country influences in her music and “Give It a Try” is an exemplary illustration of how she’s capable of breathing new life into longstanding country music arrangements. The melodic and nearly chiming guitar figure in the song gives it an extra nice touch. There’s a more modern edge to the song “Hush”, but Edwards brings traditional vocal strengths common to the genre fully to life on this song. The tasteful musicianship informing its quality is a characteristic that every track on Raisin’ Dust shares, but there’s few songs where it is as pronounced.
The trio of songs closing out the album’s first half begins with the fiery “Drive” and its more nuanced neighbors “Nothing Compares” and “Borrowed Time”. The second and third songs of those three are, by far, the most reserved and rely on artful songwriting not quite required for “Drive”. That song, instead, is another energetic shuffle that Edwards makes even better with her lively voice. “Borrowed Time” is, easily, the strongest evidence of an outright blues influence on Raisin’ Dust, but she takes it on in such a way that it doesn’t sound like some imitative effort in that vein. Bluegrass influences come back to the fore with the song “Puppet Master” and it likewise rates as one of Edwards’ best all-around songwriting efforts on the release. She underplays her singing just enough to make the lyric all the more effective. She shows her ongoing capacity for surprise with the turn she takes on the song “Gypsy Bone”. It’s an outstanding vehicle for her singing style and has an upbeat lift that many will love. Liane Edwards won’t disappoint many with Raisin’ Dust.
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