Audrey Auld Mezera,
Lost Men & Angry Girls
(Reckless, 2006)

What do you get when you transplant a singer-songwriter from Down Under to Northern California? A CD that sounds like it was released in Nashville. Duh!!!

OK, that wasn't what I expected either when I first started listening to Audrey Auld Mezera's CD Lost Men & Angry Girls. But that is what this country CD sounds like on the surface. This is actually Audrey's seventh CD. Her prior album, Texas, was recorded in Austin, so this isn't her first foray in to this genre.

Audrey has spent most of her life in Australia. In the past couple of years, she married and migrated to the United States. The title of the album comes from her experience with a stalker during her first year in the U.S. According to the promotional material, Audrey has a cutesy term to refer to her style of music -- "Ameri-kinda" -- meaning U.S. country with Australian roots. She even went back to Australia to record with Australian musicians this time. Those that sing use their best "Southern accents" on certain tracks, but any Seppo will know it is fake -- unless they're a drongo. (Hmmm ... maybe I should lay off the strine. I think I just insulted my own people -- twice!)

My favorite track on the CD is "Not I." Audrey wrote the lyrics based on her experience with the stalker I mentioned. The anger she has towards this man is expressed poignantly. "Who will mourn you when you die? And cry and cry ... Not I, not I." She starts out a cappella, but eventually the instruments join in. I especially like the fiddle playing. The tempo steps in time to a funeral march. Coincidence? This track is simple, but packs a punch. If you ever needed a song to dedicate to someone you loathe, this will definitely have to be a contender.

I also enjoy "Last Seen in Gainesville." This is another tune that was induced by a sad incidence. While stopped in a Texas truck stop, Audrey noted a missing persons poster and was prompted to write the song. The music rolls along at an upbeat pace, which is at odds with the subject. Audrey sings in her normal, not "Southern," vocals, which might also be why I am partial to this track. This is Audrey's music at its best.

Audrey takes a bit of an Irish turn with "Dublin Boy." Again, her accent changes. While not perfect, she is a vocal chameleon of sorts. Grab a pint and sing with her in your best Irish imitation. "You can drink like the Irish / And dance like the Irish / And laugh with your eyes full of joy / But none can love with all of his heart / Like my Dublin Boy."

Audrey sings and plays acoustic guitar. Australian musicians who joined her for the creation of this "Ameri-kinda" album include Doug Bligh (drums), Bill Chambers (backing vocals, guitars, mandolin), James Gillard (guitars), Chris Haigh (bass), Raechel Lee (backing vocals), Rod McCormack (mandola, guitars, banjo, mandocello), Tim Wedde (Hammond organ, piano, piano accordion), Nina Gerber (acoustic guitar), Mick Albeck (fiddle), Karl Broadie (vocals) and Beccy Willie (backing vocals). It should be noted that none of the instruments have anything but a "Southern" accent. They fooled me. I couldn't tell they were from Oz.

In short, I enjoy most of what Audrey has recorded on her CD Lost Men & Angry Girls. On certain songs, she reminds me of a female Benny Hill crooning some country song. The accent is decent, but just not quite kosher. I prefer her normal vocals to her "country" voice. But that might just be me. Many of the melodies are solid. The musicians that back her up know what they are doing. The songwriting is good. I doubt any of her old fans will be disappointed. I just don't want anyone new to Audrey's music picking up this CD thinking "Nashville" and being irked by the not-quite-legit accent on many tracks.

Audrey may originally be from Australia, but believe me when I say that this CD is better than a lot I've heard on the country scene.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

6 October 2007

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