Simultaneously more jazzier than Lucinda Williams, and more dirt floor country than Jason Isbell, Lynne Hanson is a fine songwriter with a good ear for rhymes and she most definitely knows how to pen a heartwarming song. Her velvety voice is smooth and assured but at times it would be nice to hear her stretch her vocal cords a bit, especially on songs like “Dead Weight” and “Devil Said Do” which could use a bit more fire and hysteria. Canadian Hanson plays it nice a bit too much, which is a common complaint from me with many blues and Americana influenced musicians nowadays. This is something that bands like the Rolling Stones got right when crafting this sort of material decades ago. This is dirty, rough, messy music and sometimes needs to be treated as such. Hooting and hollering is fine, when you get it right, you just have to step out and take that chance.
He voice serves her better on the title cut, “Uneven Ground,” which is jazzier, with New Orleans influenced piano and drums, and it’s smartly followed by “Every Honest Misstep” which comes on strong, quite possibly the best “pop” song on the album.
The production comes off a bit too simple for my tastes, sounding more like demos or unfinished tracks than a completed album, but I do appreciate that they didn’t follow nearly every other artist working in this genre and shoot for the typical generic Nashville production with syrupy fiddles, cornpone twangy Teles, and stereotypical pedal steels. Instead we have some accomplished piano playing throughout which helps to cement several of the tracks together, and the acoustic guitars on these tunes are exceptional.
So, yeah, I’m a bit on the fence on this one. I like the songs, I like Hanson’s voice, I feel as if this is the album she wanted to release, but—since this isn’t her first album but rather her fifth—I would have hoped for something a little more fearless. I’ve seen several live videos where Hanson opens up
wonderfully, it would be nice to hear some of that on her next album.
Released 7th April 2017
Courtesy The legendary Roy Peak