Adrienne Jones is not new to the folk scene - this first solo CD has taken nearly 20 years. Back in Greenwich Village in the mid eighties, she was a member of Idle Rumors with Margo Hennebach and Paul Kovit. And for a short time at the end of the last century, she was a member of another trio, Madwoman in the Attic, with Hennebach and Diane Chodkowski. In both groups, she was the chief contributor of finely-honed lyrics on unusual, sometimes otherworldly subjects.
Talking River includes a couple of songs from the Madwoman days and Jones credits her former partners for some of the vocal arrangements. But it is clear that Jones also owes a huge debt to Hennebach's dramatic, Celtic-inflected vocal style as well. She gained another invaluable gift from her time with the popular trio - a connection with Signature Sounds, where the album was recorded. The album shines with technical brilliance from a number of excellent performers - including Brooks Williams and Salamander Crossing's Rani Arbo on harmony vocals and Jerry O'Sullivan on uillean pipes. But what really stands out is the fine studio production by Mark Thayer. The whole thing sounds fantastic.
As for the songs, they chronicle a re-entry into the world after a period apart - claiming freedom from ghosts of the past (in "Uninvited Ghost"), rescuing childhood memories to use as talismans ("Rabbit Tracks") for the road ahead, digging up her family roots among the early homesteaders ("House of Earth"). Several are philosophical, pondering life's lessons but with enough humor to keep them lively, as in "Ride" where she sings: "Now the dictionary defines career / As a headlong rush, generally downhill." Still, the album's standout song is beautiful "Seven Wishes," half vision half prayer. -HB