Kim Beggs has the soft gentle voice of a dreamy-eyed teenage girl, the heart and soul of a young woman who's discovering the world is not as romantic novels portray it, and the experience of a world-weary adult who understands the pains and crushing disappointments of life's dramas all too well. Blue Bones, her latest release, recruits the doughty Steve Dawson not just for production work, nor just his marrow-deep knowing musicianship, but just as much for a sepia toned authenticity in employing a surprising array of elder instruments in their period voices: weissenborn, National Style-O, pump organ, mellodica, Phillicorda, National Tricone, Wurlitzer (!), and pedal steel (even a mellotron and mandotar). Though Beggs hails from Canada and has a very folky base, there are strong Appalachian strains and laid back bluegrass running through the release.
Terrible Valentine is simultaneously hilarious, unsettling, and 40s reminiscent all at once, a kiss-off to a bastard lover who's stepped on the singer's heart one too many times. And on Can't Drive Slow Yodel, she does exactly both, confessin' to a back-country version of Sammy Hagar's Can't Drive 55 while yee-hee-hawin' like a Jimmy Rogers pro. Then there's her innocent and hearthfire-warmed version of Dylan's I'll be Your Baby Tonight, simple, unpretentious, sweet, and as quiet as a snowflake falling through air. Special notice should be made of Grant Gestrin, who adds a very Levon Helm-esque set of keyboards to various cuts, bolstering Dawson's sterling guitars (and Dawson's no Robbie Robertson but much more like the brilliant Lloyd Maines). When the CD ramps down, I guarantee you'll be a bit baffled as to what to make of it all. That's 'cause there are very few doing what Beggs is doing, and, whatever it is, it's going to force a number of returns to the stereo.