Jolie Holland regards this third solo album as "a pilgrim's progress through the horrors of lust, interspersed with songs of true friendship" - a curiously anachronistic description that perfectly conveys the antique, olde-worlde charm that characterises Holland's work and, perhaps, her world view. Like Leon Redbone or Maria Muldaur, she effortlessly conjures up the moods and manners of an earlier time, her lazy, back-porch drawl sketching a folksy world of sweethearts and moonbeams, to which her instrumental armoury of harmonium, fiddle, piano, steel guitar and funereal brass band provide deft coloration. In these songs, love is always a surprise, sometimes welcome, sometimes to be resisted: "Crush in the Ghetto" finds her in the first flush of love, all her perceptions bathed in a rosy glow, while in "Stubborn Beast" she's playing hard to get, led by her "sullen songs" down a "darkened road" from which she desires escape. "The walls are caving in but I am still a stubborn beast," she sings: "Why don't you take me when I'm willing?" It's a measure of her authenticity that it could be taken as both love plaint and gospel hymn.
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