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Rebecca Loebe review in Maverick Magazine UK

Rebecca Loebe review in Maverick Magazine UK
MAVERICK MAGAZINE UK - Circus Heart Review
by Arthur Wood

4.5 Stars - Quite simply this is a wall-to-wall folk/pop delight.

The ten-song CIRCUS HEART is 2009 Kerrville New Folk Song Contest winner Rebecca Loebe’s third full album - born in Virginia, has lived in Georgia, Massachusetts and now resides in Texas. The album was recorded at Mark Addison’s Aerie Studio in Austin, and he engineered the sessions, whilst Matt Sever aka. Matt the Electrician occupied the producer’s chair. Amongst a vast array of instruments, Addison played Wurlitzer, electric guitar, bass, bouzouki and added harmony vocals, whilst The Electrician added keyboards, acoustic, electric and tenor guitar, ukulele, trumpet and more, as well as singing harmony. The other session players were Dony Wynn (drums, percussion), Andrew Pressman (upright and electric bass), Raina Rose (lead guitar, harmony vocals) plus harmony vocals from Lex Land and Shae Stuart. The latter pair are out-of-towners, now an entegral part of the vibrant Austin music scene.

I clearly recall first hearing the album opener during a 2010 Kerrville Folk Festival In-The-Round that featured a quartet of New Folk winners and finalists, including Rebecca. During that performance, Raina Rose proved beyond a doubt that girls can play lead guitar. There’s an obvious and wicked twinkle in the eye of the sassy Darlin narrator- sic: ‘The smell of your beard in the morning’ - as she recalls, instantly being transformed from introvert to extrovert - ‘Next thing I knew it was skipping’, out on the pond, skinny dippin’ - whilst the lyrics is neatly wrapped up by the repeated ‘What did you to my (pause) heart.’ Of course, what made me truly smile was the ensuing aside: ‘When can you do it again.’ Sever has gone for a ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ approach on Darlin and it succeeds in spades.

On this set, Rebecca has hook-laden melody nailed down, and replete with a Mariachi interlude that’s clearly evidenced by the ballsy title song. The allegorical Swallowed by the Sea concerning her life in the music business was penned during her participation in the first Stateside season of The Voice. Loebe possesses one hell of a set of pipes and on High & Lonesome, her voice ascends to the stratosphere and then gently settles back to terra firma. The latter is a treatise with a twist - namely, love and less-than-luxurious hotel rooms that are a road warrior’s lot.

At almost six minutes duration, the sublime Georgia - replete with mention of the state’s prevalent ‘magnolia and pine’ - is this album’s longest song, wherein the deceased narrator contemplates reincarnation with: ‘Heaven send me back to Georgia.’ Death is also very much present in The Chicago Kid. The album’s only cover song is Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation: Mercy possesses a confessional feel, while the penultimate, keyboard propelled I Will Wait is a love ode.

Featuring Raina’s lead guitar and harmony vocal, Vagabond Prayer brings the album to a gentle close with the road warrior deliberating on the subject of home. An infectious air of unshackled abandon pervades this folk/pop collection. CIRCUS HEART is a wonderfully wayward tonic and more fun than a bag of monkeys, and that’s a fact.