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Heidi Spencer & the Rare Birds

Under Streetlight Glow (Bella Union)

Mar. 14, 2011
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No one is likely to call Heidi Spencer a country singer, but on the Milwaukee artist's new album, her voice crackles with a mountain-holler vulnerability learned from Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Her idiosyncratic, poetically expressive songwriting is harder to peg, although the spirit of Dylan sometimes hovers in the background. The deliberate guitar strumming at the heart of her music is simply dressed and arranged by producer-drummer Bill Curtis at Milwaukee's ShipRec Studios. String bass and spectral piano and emotive little touches—lonesome whistling against an urban twilight or skeletal electric guitar solos—wrap her melancholy songs in a light, gauzy shawl.

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