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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Hope Dunbar

Three Black Crows

Review by Gary Hill

This is a cool disc. I would say that Hope Dunbar's biggest strength is her ability to write great lyrics. That's not to say that her vocals or music are weak. In fact, that's not true at all. It's just that her lyrics are so good. Her music lands somewhere in the vicinity of folk meets country music. All in all, this is a successful set.

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Track by Track Review
Energy and roots music based, this has plenty of country and folk music in the mix. It's a catchy number that leans toward a long lost era. The lyrics fit that style, too.
Three Black Crows
The title track is more intricate and tied to bluegrass music.
The Shooter
Less of a country edge to this, the cut is basically pure folk music. The lyrics seem quite contemporary. This is classy with some cool Americana building in the arrangement later.
She Keeps Going
A sad (yet somehow empowering) cut, this is a nice slice of life. It's folk music and based on the modern age, but also has a timeless vibe to it.
I Write
Another with real slice of life lyrics, this has some hints of country music built into it. It's a folk rocker, with the rock part coming a bit later in the track.
Living After Losing
This is a sad ballad. It's pretty and melancholy. It's another slice of life number. It's more pure folk music.
While this isn't a big change, it's another strong cut on the strength of the lyrics. I love the section with multiple layers of vocals on this.
Admit It
Somehow this song almost feels like a cross between Rickie Lee Jones and Tracy Chapman to me. It's a bit more energetic and has a bit of a groove to it.
Energized and rocking, this is a nice change of pace. Some of the picked guitar brings some country to the proceedings. This is one of the most modern sounding things here.
Folk with some country in the mix, this is mellower and quite pretty.
Better Than Ever with Darrell Scott
The backing vocals add quite a bit to this cut. It's a tasty folk turned country styled number. There is a lot of emotion and style in the mix.
Losing Sleep
Here we have a stripped back cut. The music seems more folk oriented while the vocals seem quite country oriented. I like this tune, but I'm not sure it was the best choice to end the set. Perhaps this should have been switched with the cut that preceded it to make for  a stronger release.
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