Carve It to the Heart's not just a CD title–it's a job description. Long-time local stalwart Linda McRae's keen, cutting voice is a surgical instrument, and here she slices through 50 years of country corn to arrive at a sound that would sit nicely with anything Hank Williams ever did.
To fully enjoy this project, it helps to have an appreciation for kerosene lanterns, trail rides, and big old American cars. McRae's newfound prowess on the five-string banjo brings a mountain-music flavour to many of the tracks here, while her duet with cowboy crooner Gary Fjellgaard, "Living in the Past With You", is a sentimental tribute to "pioneer ways and hard luck days". Further retro moments pop up when she rewrites the Loretta Lynn story in "Little Red Shoes". But McRae's love songs are based on even more durable archetypes, and you don't need to be a fan of hillbilly music to recognize the real feeling she brings to such lonesome-and-blue originals as "I'll Watch Your Lovelight Shine". True love has recently taken McRae off to a new life in Nashville, but Carve It to the Heart is a welcome souvenir of her deep and subtle talent.