Album Review: Laura Jean Anderson – Righteous Girl

Laura Jean Anderson is no stranger to journeys.  Growing up in a conservative home in Washington where she spent years singing in church and learning roots music, Anderson ventured to Southern California to further her artistic education.  She describes her time there as two years of wild art school experiences, being a barefoot hippie in the mountains writing songs.  From Los Angeles, the young singer traveled alone to Huaraz, Peru, where her money was stolen, and she had to busk on the street to make enough to buy a ticket back to Los Angeles.

Now, Anderson has embarked on a new journey, and she has invited us along; her debut EP, A Righteous Girl, comes out today, March 4th. Each of the album’s four tracks presents its own adventurous exploration of religion, hardship, and heartache in a beautiful blend of folk, rock, and Americana styles.   Beginning with the easy groove of the Alabama Shakes-esque “Take Me In”, Anderson’s haunting voice hearkens to a bygone era, when women who sang real country music came from humble beginnings in the hills of Tennessee or the coal mines of West Virginia. Next, in the ominously dramatic “Righteous Girl”, the singer ponders her personal state of affairs as she innocently coos “Mama said I’ll be a righteous girl someday”; she sings the phrase repeatedly throughout the song, as if trying to convince herself that righteousness is an option.  Anderson’s dreamy and trance-like contemplation ends as she snarls “But I’ve got that devil down, I know he’s gonna stay.”  Anderson’s tone coupled with the sound of reverb-laden guitars, smoothly-executed bass lines, and muted trumpet could easily be the soundtrack for a classic Hollywood film noir.

“Over & Over Again” drips with longing and heartache, and gives her unique and emotive voice an ample platform upon which to shine.  The journey ends with “It Won’t Be Long”, a reflection on difficult circumstances and moving on to better things, whose introduction is as hopeful as the first glimpse of a rising sun; the optimism builds as our heroine’s tender voice gets increasingly powerful, declaring “Oh It won’t be long ’til I’m gone.”  Even though the the music ends for now, our journey with Laura Jean Anderson is far from over.

Purchase Righteous Girlhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/righteous-girl-ep/id1086812139

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Susan Hubbard

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