Maura O'Connell, "Don't I Know," (Sugar Hill) THREE STARS
She is nothing if not consistent and Maura O'Connell's deep, soulful Irish voice and exquisite taste in material have been her calling cards throughout her career.
She's at it once again on "Don't I Know," working alongside her longtime collaborator and lapsteel/dobro master Jerry Douglas on a superb 11-song set. She starts with "Trip Around the Sun," a beautiful track co-written by Nashville songwriter (and ex-NRBQ guitarist) Al Anderson. O'Connell moves elegantly through other cuts ranging from the darker tones of "There's No Good Day for Dying" to the piano-backed Mindy Smith ballad "Going Down in Flames." It features one of the singer's best vocals on the disc.
Based in Nashville for nearly 20 years, O'Connell's Irish brogue still slips in delightfully, even when she's trying out slightly harder-edged material such as Kim Richey's "Didn't I" or the organ-churning "Spinning Wheel."
She remains one of the most underrated talents in Nashville or anywhere else for that matter, but not for lack of effort. O'Connell's come up with yet another winner on "Don't I Know."
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