Masts of Manhatta, Lojinx Records ***
It’s quite simple: Oregon musician and songwriter Tracy Bonham is the missing link between Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin. She’s been around a while, with a career arc that has seen a few highs (her 1996 debut album, The Burdens of Being Upright, garnered two Grammy noms) brought to earth by various stop-start music industry and personal experiences.
Masts of Manhattais bouyed by a lyrical wit ( Devil’s Got Your Boyfriend) and intensity ( I Love You Today) that registers not just Bonham’s journey away from and back into music, but also her exchange of urban life for a more rustic experience ( We Moved Our City to the Country). While the music doesn’t veer too far away from the soft-rock, country-grit, greasy urban soul of Sheryl Crow, neither does it remind us too much of it, either – and when it does, it’s in a good way.
Download tracks: Devil’s Got Your Boyfriend, We Moved Our City to the Country