It would be hard to imagine a better tribute than this one.
Twenty years prior to the release of Going Driftless, Greg Brown sang about being a dad. "I'm a man who's rich in daughters," he boasted, tenderly. It's appropriate, then, that the most affecting song on this tribute album is a hushed, heartfelt reading of Brown's early rarity "Ella Mae," played and sung here by his three girls, Pieta, Zoe, and Constie. And while theirs is the disc's single best performance, there's much more here to recommend. Lucinda Williams (who opens the album with "Lately") and Iris DeMent ("The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home") are, like Brown, raw, emotive singers steeped in the blues, and their covers ooze with longing and ache. Ani DiFranco's jazzy "Poet Game" and Victoria Williams's playful "Early" offer new perspectives on familiar Brown songs. And while the likes of Eliza Gilkyson ("Sleeper") and Shawn Colvin ("Say a Little Prayer") come off a little too polished, each earns points for reviving terrific tunes from deep in Brown's catalog. One note: Royalties from this album go to the Breast Cancer Fund. - Anders Smith Lindall Amazon.com