'Fine Upstanding Citizen'
Maia Sharp is a successful singer-songwriter and has worked with some impressive names, among them Carole King and Bonnie Raitt; yet from this offering, it is hard to see why. Her beautiful, clear and yet distinctive voice never lifts the material above straightforward mum-rock. With so many tracks about freedom and spirit versus responsibility and expectations, Maia could listen to her own advice and try something a little more experimental. 'Fine Upstanding Citizen' will disappoint fans of the Dixie Chicks' good-time country music, and yet is so mainstream that it remains miles away from singers like Gillian Welch and her americana approach. The music is only accompaniment to the simple lyrics, never adding any emotional depth as Maia contents herself with recounting failed relationships, giving no sense of the woman pulled in two directions that the cover art implies. An apron of an album and not a red dress. [Caroline Hurley]
Fine Upstanding Citizen' is released on March 27.