Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Mama's Broke

  • Narrow Line [Free Dirt, 2022] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Narrow Line [Free Dirt, 2022]
Steeped in folk balladry, stark yet also sprightly but seldom if ever pretty, this strictly acoustic Montreal-based Nova Scotian duo double only on banjo, with Amy Lou Keeler the guitarist as well as the declarative lead singer and Lisa Maria adding fiddle, mandolin, cello once, and extra salt. So we get "Do right man but not right now/Say that you love me but you don't know how" over plucked banjo and sour fiddle. And "But you wrote the same old story in another woman's bed/Just like all other men" only then "'Cause even when it was bad you were the best I ever had." And "But you found your joy you're God's little boy/And all those girls with their words are gonna be sorry" over faint guitar chords and painfully spare banjo. And "All the men dying with more than they can spend" followed by a just barely strummed "We can't hold it all/Our hands are just too small." Strong stuff delicately and even intricately rendered throughout. A-