Smoke Rings in the Sky

Sonoma County folk singer/guitarist Alison Harris’ debut album is a breezy, country-tinged romp through a collection of 10 original songs often dealing with love and loss, and the weather and geography in which those things occur. To say that Harris’ music is “breezy” is not to say that it does not have a deep seriousness to it. One of Harris’ talents, in fact, is her ability to deliver emotional lyrics in such a beautiful, honest way as to make the listener long to hear a particular song over and over, despite it being about death or betrayal in love. “Lie your body down on my grave, my Angelina,” Harris sings in the delicately lovely “Angelina,” “And my ghost will dance sweetly through the night.” Harris has clearly done her listening to those singularly interesting female singer/guitar-slingers who preceded her: The Roches, Phoebe Snow, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams. The influence of Snow’s unique style, for instance—both vocally and instrumentally—on Harris’ “Mexico” is unmistakable. Opener “Mockingbird” is an utterly catchy alt-country-style rocker: “You drink your booze, sing all night long / This is turning out all wrong / But baby, you look so good / I’d turn you loose, doll baby / If I could.”