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Michaela Anne – Desert Dove (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Michaela Anne – Desert Dove (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 40:14 minutes | 884 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Yep Roc Records

Full of lush, sweeping arrangements and deeply vulnerable self-examination, ‘Desert Dove’ is Michaela’s most expansive work yet. The album, produced by Sam Outlaw and Delta Spirit’s Kelly Winrich, is still very much rooted in the classic country she’s come to be known for – but the record represents something of a sonic shift for Michaela, incorporating more modern production elements than ever before in pursuit of a sound that owes as much influence to indie rock as honky tonk. Despite the bolder, more adventurous arrangements, Michaela’s crystalline voice remains front and center, as do her subjects: complex, three-dimensional characters who, through Michaela’s empathetic portraits, revel in exploring the gray areas between good and bad, joy and pain, love and regret. In the end, that vivid grounding in real experience coupled with outstanding songwriting and musicianship is what makes ‘Desert Dove’ such an incredibly powerful record.

If Angelo Badalamenti and Chris Isaak teamed up to produce a country album, it might sound something like Desert Dove, the fourth album from vocalist and songwriter Michaela Anne. The arrangements and production set this apart from a typical country album in 2019; the sound of this music is firmly rooted in country traditions and as a lyricist, Michaela Anne composes songs that are honest and down to earth, even as her graceful melodies and sweetly clear voice are the spoonful of honey that makes it all go down so comfortably. But the broad sweep of the echoey mix, the occasional cry of the string section, the lonely tone of the twangy guitar figures, and the introspective middle-of-the-night vibe add up to a powerfully atmospheric set that’s subtly otherworldly and absorbing. It’s interesting how well the shadowy personality of the music blends with Anne’s songs; on the surface, they’re smart and well crafted, dealing with the traditional themes of love and its absence, but producers Sam Outlaw and Kelly Winrich have tapped into an undercurrent of sadness in the material, and even on the passionate “Run Away with Me” and defiant “If I Wanted Your Opinion,” they make Desert Dove into something richer and more emotionally textured than it would be in the hands of others. However, the efforts of Outlaw and Winrich would be futile without an artist as talented as Michaela Anne up front, and here she’s in excellent form, her vocals capable of expressing both strength and vulnerability without a drop of histrionics, and her lyrics are as smart as they are easily relatable, depicting everyday lives with uncommon accuracy and depth. Michaela Anne’s apparent disinterest in the slick, hollow approach of most contemporary country would have identified Desert Dove as something different regardless of the production, but Outlaw and Winrich helped make this into a striking, satisfying collection of songs that confirms Anne’s status as one of country’s freshest and most interesting new talents. ~ Mark Deming


01. By Our Design
02. One Heart
03. I’m Not the Fire
04. Child of the Wind
05. Tattered, Torn and Blue (And Crazy)
06. Desert Dove
07. Run Away With Me
08. Two Fools
09. If I Wanted Your Opinion
10. Somebody New
11. Be Easy


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