Don't I Know

Don't I Know

by Maura O'Connell
     
 
Not that Maura O'Connell has lost any of her heart-tugging Irish tenderness, but on her tenth solo album, the former DeDanaan lead singer showcases some urgent vocalizing with a throaty, bluesy edge à la Allison Moorer and musical textures that incorporate southern rock, Irish, and country flourishes. Meaty songs -- by the likes of Jim

Overview

Not that Maura O'Connell has lost any of her heart-tugging Irish tenderness, but on her tenth solo album, the former DeDanaan lead singer showcases some urgent vocalizing with a throaty, bluesy edge à la Allison Moorer and musical textures that incorporate southern rock, Irish, and country flourishes. Meaty songs -- by the likes of Jim Lauderdale & Leslie Satcher, Mindy Smith, Kim Richey & Tim Krekel, and Gary Burr & Patti Griffin -- form a narrative arc that finds O'Connell pondering life's vicissitudes from emotional extremes. She brings the songs to life with her expressive, husky voice and the stirrings of her heart, producing passages of exquisite beauty. On Burr & Griffin's "Up and Flying," which she does at an ominous, moody pace, O'Connell rages against the stasis in her life as she ponders a lover who has moved on without missing a beat. The propulsive drive and soaring choruses of "Trip Around the Sun" frame a determined vocal testimony that finds O'Connell verbally shrugging off the things she can't control and trying to see a better day ahead. On the roiling ballad "Hold On," O'Connell engages in an internal dialogue aimed at giving her a reason to keep breathing in the face of destructive tendencies. The spare arrangement and tantalizing slide guitar and keyboard support on Mindy Smith's "Going Down in Flames" is an apt commentary on the anguish described by the lyrics, which O'Connell brings to life with a vocal that's alternately weary and enraged. Producer Jerry Douglas does O'Connell proud with judicious arrangements that enhance the mood but never overshadow the singer, who proves herself a magnificent vessel for conveying a multitude of complex emotions.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
Maura O'Connell continues her winning streak on Don't I Know, inviting some of the industry's best songwriters and studio musicians to highlight her spectacular voice. Although she began her life and musical career in Ireland, O'Connell has one of the most uniquely American voices in Nashville today, and her choice of material has long been the only thing rivaling her voice as far as quality goes. This album is no exception, as O'Connell honors songs by Patty Griffin, Tim O'Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Kim Richey, and newcomer Mindy Smith, who provides a strong contribution in "Going Down in Flames." Working again with producer Jerry Douglas, O'Connell has similarly surrounded herself with some of the best musicians in the contemporary folk family, including Viktor Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Russ Barenberg, and of course Douglas on Dobro and lap steel. Highlights include "There's No Good Day for Dying" and the Patty Griffin song "Up and Flying," both of which are soul-baring explorations into love, life, and moving on in one way or another. The album culminates in the stark and haunting "Time to Learn" which, although darkly minimal, offers glimmers of sunlight and hope in the cracks of the stone walls her songs construct.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/11/2004
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891397924
catalogNumber:
3979
Rank:
196975

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Maura O'Connell   Primary Artist,Vocals
Russ Barenberg   Guitar
Jerry Douglas   Dobro,Lap Steel Guitar
Edgar Meyer   Bass,Double Bass
Gabe Dixon   Organ,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Clavinet,Hammond B3
Viktor Krauss   Bass,Bass Guitar
Gerry O'Beirne   Guitar
Carmella Ramsey   Background Vocals
Harry Stinson   Background Vocals
Cheryl White   Background Vocals
Gabe Witcher   Fiddle,Violin
Bryan Sutton   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki
Jonathan Trebing   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Shannon Forest   Drums
Don Johnson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jerry Douglas   Producer,Audio Production
Jim Lauderdale   Composer
Pat Alger   Composer
David Clayton-Thomas   Composer
Tim Krekel   Composer
Gary Burr   Composer
Stephen Bruton   Composer
Neal Cappellino   Engineer
Patty Griffin   Composer
Tim O'Brien   Composer
Kim Richey   Composer
Bil VomDick   Engineer
Jason Lehning   Engineer
Robin Lerner   Composer
Leslie Satcher   Composer
A. Anderson   Composer
Hillary Lindsey   Composer
Mindy Smith   Composer
Troy Verges   Composer

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