Gypsy Bells

Brianna Lea Pruett

Canyon Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Having grown up on a steady diet of Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, John Denver and Carole King, Northern California's Brianna Lea Pruett melds her influences into a mix of poetic sounds that illustrate her deep appreciation of jazz, blues, folk and soulful soft rock. On her debut album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Gypsy Bells, Pruett keeps her Cherokee/Choctaw roots intact; this sets her apart from other female singer/songwriters as she delivers a warm, intimate brand of emotive Americana tunes.

Primarily relying on gentle acoustic guitars and her smooth, calming voice, Pruett most closely resembles a younger Joni Mitchell, Gillian Welch or Emmylou Harris. This is especially evident on the title track “Gypsy Bells,” which has an immediate Harris similarity in the vocal delivery. While I could see some listeners accusing this of being too much of the same sound, the careful ears will recognize the blues pianos on “Under Your Wing,” the atmospheric, Mazzy Star feel of "Live Wire" and vocal changes on "Love My Free" as a nice deviation from her breathy and plucked formula.

Other notable moments are the Elliott Smith-esque parallels on "Marry That Boy" or the dreamy "It's All Right," which could easily find space on the FM dial. However, the album highlight, “Seeds Of Love," is country pop gem with a mystical, hypnotic edge that is easily worth the price of admission alone.

Sure, plenty of young woman are making albums of lightly picked acoustic guitars and barely audible brushed drumming while putting sounds to their wistful daydreams. And while Pruett wears her influences proudly and very apparent, her Appalachian roots and Native American Cherokee and Choctaw lineage combined with her experiences being raised in the Northern California mountains make for a unique, irresistible listen.

There's no doubt that Pruett has a wealth of talent, and I get the impression that this album is just scratching the surface of what she's capable of. The future here seems boundless.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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