Adie Grey,
How to Find a Rainbow
(Hey Baby, 2005)

From the opening notes of "Like a Couple of Kids in Love," Adie Grey's How to Find a Rainbow is a musically bright abum, the sort of thing to make grey skies seem unimportant. But Grey's voice carries the sunlight to make those grey skies seem outright beautiful. Brightened by that voice, somber songs like the wistful "Volver, Volver" feel like the lightest of sun showers, the kind that shower small rainbows in a hundred directions. Lighter songs, like the sly country rocker "An Old Man's Darlin" bring out a smile with every hearing. And there's just no way to resist the hip-swinging rhythm of "Forget About You."

The spirited brightness of the album may prompt some to dismiss Grey as a lightweight,. She puts that idea to rest with the defiant optimism of "Mr. Armstrong was Right" and the lonely bluegrass folktale that is "The Ballad of Black Charlie." But Grey shows her full strength with the worker's hymn "The Gospel of the Hammer." A strong, unsentimental call for love, faith and the practical effort they demand, set to the easy swinging rhythm of a work song, "Gospel" feels ready to start a movement all on its own.

Unlike some singer-songwriters, Grey seems to have listened to herself well enough to know her musical strengths, and each song on Rainbow is pitched perfectly for her light, familiar voice. That skilled utilization of her most natural instrument lets her move between genres while maintinaning a unifying sound, and, perhaps more importantly, a unified spirit. Its spirit is bright enough, and strong enough, to draw a rainbow from the darkest cloud.

by Sarah Meador
26 November 2005

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