Natalie Merchant – The House Carpenter’s Daughter

Former 10,000 Maniac gal's long-mooted collection of traditional and contemporary folk songs

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Merchant’s first release since ending her 18-year relationship with Elektra succeeds admirably in capturing the common humanity in folk songs through the ages. The band includes members of pioneering alt.folkies The Horseflies and songs range from the familiar (title track) to the obscure (beautiful 18th-century hymn “Weeping Pilgrim”). Merchant’s rich, expressive voice is imbued with all the awe, dread and authority the material requires, while the subtle arrangements prove that, treated right, these timeless treasures are still capable of revealing previously uncharted mysteries.

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