Things I Gave Away
Mollie O’Brien, a fixture in the bluegrass folk scene, presents 10 trademark country-blues-based tunes on her fourth CD, Things I Gave Away. If it’s barely possible to endure such a sketchy combination as jazz and blues (sort of like cookies and ass) in a legend like Gram Parsons, then in a lesser talent it’s nearly impossible to stomach. O’Brien does have some decent moments on Things I Gave Away, especially in songs like “The House, the Boast, the Lovers,” as well as in her remake of the Beatles’ “You Won’t See Me,” but if you’re looking for sentimental folk with a twist of Paul McCartney, Phil Keaggy would be a much better bet. For the couple of fair songs on here, there’s hordes of unendurably lame, smarmy numbers. The white jazz-country style O’Brien employs is so generic that it could accompany any number of baby-boomer-geared commercials, from tampons to coffee. There’s not much that’s redeemable about this CD, unless you’re a housewife or charter accountant over the age of 44. Buy it and it will most likely end up becoming another thing you gave away.
Sugar Hill Records, P.O. Box 55300, Durham, NC 27717-5300; http://www.sugarhillrecords.com/