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Krista Detor Reviews Flat Earth Diary

Sunday, January 5, 2014

by Mike Davies,

Flat Earth Dairy (Tightrope Records)

Over the course of five albums and 10 years, Indiana born Detor has been quietly but steadily establishing herself as one of the finest singer-songwriters of her generation. And a pretty nifty pianist too. She's build a loyal following and found prominent national and international exposure, but with this, her sixth and most personal release, she will hopefully finally find the wider audience she deserves.

Inspired by a trip to the North Channel of Lake Huron, the quiet waters brought back childhood memories that would serve to provide the missing connection between a collection of songs looking to find a unifying thread.

Working with an impressive array of bassists (Victor Wooten among them) alongside musicians that include John Prine guitarist Jason Wilbur, 17 yr old Itzhak Perlman protégé Ariel Horowitz on violin and longtime accompanist and producer David Weber, it's a lovely, relaxed affair that conjures images of sunlight glancing off streams and stars shimmering in clear night skies.

A literate writer, gorgeous opener, the liltingly lazing Ferryman's Dream, has her singing about being 'buried in books I don't read', so when she talks of wuthering weather, a scarlet letter and bell jars, it's not a stretch to find yourself thinking of Bronte, Hawthorne and Plath. Likewise, a closing reference to Miro and Ives seems a likely references to the Miro Quartet and composer Charles Ives while a line in Always Somewhere conjures Maya Angelou.

Such touches are there for those who want to find them, but you don't have to be a Sherlock to recognise her brilliant marriage of words and music on the likes of Hear That? with its "bottle of half-drunken wishes' or "the fine print on my heart' in Fine Print's burping rhythms, a song inspired by memories of her mother's "too pink" lipstick.

If you need reference points, then the breezily rolling Belle of the Ball, arguably the catchiest number with its scurrying tempo and descending chorus line, might be described as a meeting between Dar Williams and Simon & Garfunkel's The Boxer with an added Arabian hint while the sway waltzing Bridges and, featuring cello and violin, tender portrait of frailty Marietta (a song about her grandmother, perhaps) both recall vintage Suzanne Vega.

That said, on the other hand, the jazzed, foxily undulating come hither Red Velvet Box has definite echoes of Harry Nilsson's Coconut and snatches of the scurrying, vocally tumbling banjo backed title track even puts me in mind of I've Just Seen A Face.

Closing with the simple Celtic coloured acoustic bonus love song, Blowing Kisses, this is already guaranteed a place in my year's best of list and it really should fine one in yours too; a Flat Earth society of which you should be proud to become a member.

Mike Davies, January 2014 Net Rhythms