Mara Lee Miller's voice is a wondrous instrument, combining the breathy beauty of Chan Marshall and Hope Sandoval with the childlike wonder of Joanna Newsom. After receiving her demo at a tour stop in Denton, singer-songwriter Damien Jurado was so impressed that he invited her to a Seattle studio to help record her debut. Released under the moniker Bosque Brown, the resulting record is a thing of rare beauty, as timeless as the best works of country-folk masters such as Townes Van Zandt and Gillian Welch, two of Miller's principal influences. Every song is a lesson in simplicity, from the short running times to the spare but haunting arrangements that feature tasteful amounts of fiddle, accordion and pedal steel. "Red Roses" easily could have been found by A.P. Carter floating somewhere in the Appalachians, while "Fine Lines," "Firefight" and "Israel" carry the spiritual undertones prevalent in much of Jurado's best work. Far from preachy, the album hearkens back to the days of classic country, folk and blues, when religious songs fit side by side with tales of drinking, lust and murder, and people still believed that the lifting of voices like Miller's could save souls.
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