Stephanie Fix,
(Hand To Mouth, 2000)

In these days of Lilith Fair and the increased attention being paid to female singer/songwriters, a name that might not sound familiar is Stephanie Fix. With the release of her second CD, Survival, there is a good chance that this will change.

Stephanie's songs take the best elements of rock and folk music and combine them with intelligent, thoughtful lyrics, sung with a strong, confident-sounding alto voice. If you take the pop melodies of Sheryl Crow, mix in the thoughtfulness of Shawn Colvin or Tracy Chapman, and add in some of the quirkiness of Ani DiFranco, you get a sense of where Stephanie is coming from.

Fix is also an accomplished guitarist, and a very capable group of musicians back her up. Larry Campbell, best known for his work with Bob Dylan and Richard Shindell, co-produced two songs. His guitar, mandolin and fiddle accent many of the songs nicely.

"Bitter Fool" and "Pretty White Veil" both feature catchy, bouncy melodies with irresistible hooks. Fix's emotional personal lyrics deal mostly with relationships. She effectively paints pictures that any listener can relate to. "Girls Like Me" explores growing up and looking for acceptance. "What Happened Here?" has lyrics which resemble more traditional folk music, growing up and seeing the world changing and no longer being able to trust things you were taught to believe in. The only cover is a tasteful soulful version of Bob Dylan's "Oh Sister," which Fix explained in the liner notes was her way of paying homage to the man who has been her greatest influence as a songwriter.

There is virtually nothing not to like about this CD. With well-crafted songs combined with emotional personal lyrics, this resident of the Hudson Valley area of New York has made a CD that deserves some new attention.

[ by Dave Townsend ]