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Jess Klein
STRAWBERRY LOVER
(Rykodisc)

Strawberry Lover finds singer-songwriter Jess Klein delivering another versatile album full of poignant storytelling. Building on the bluesy folk thatís characterized her work to this point, she tries her hand at country pop on "Shoot Out at the Candy Shop," guitar-clanging, Springsteen-inspired rock and roll on "Darkroom," and something resembling a classic girl-group tribute with "Office Girl." The title track returns her to her musical home base: itís a tale of longing thatís really a folk ballad. But by adding organ and drums to the arrangement, she breaks out of the girl-with-an-acoustic-guitar mold.

Kleinís narratives offer engaging snapshots of people trapped in situations from which they yearn to break free. "Shonalee" is about love in a late-night diner where the jukebox is the only respite for both the waitress and her customers. Kleinís voice lands somewhere between the pop sensibility of Susannah Hoffs and the emotionally charged twang of Emmylou Harris, and it supports her through her musical journey from straightforward folk to something a bit rockier.

BY CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY


Issue Date: February 11 - 17, 2005
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