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Carla Lother: 100 Lovers

If you don’t know Winnipeg’s Carla Lother, now based in New York, you owe it to yourself to locate both her accurately titled 2000 debut Ephemera (a blend of jazz-infused interpretations of Yeats poetry and New Age-y pop originals) and her long overdue follow-up, 100 Lovers (Chesky). Listening to either disc, it’s obvious that Lother is steeped in the classic folk tradition and is a dedicated Joni Mitchell acolyte. Her sound, though, is closer to the sweeter styles of Mary Travers and Mary Hopkin. On 100 Lovers, Lother finds an unlikely but utterly satisfying musical partner in former Plasmatics and Wendy O. Williams guitarist Richie Stotts. Together they weave a mesmerizing romantic spell with nine original love songs (four cowritten, four crafted solely by Lother and one penned by her with co-producer Jack Morer). None are as socially or politically charged as Mitchell’s, but all as impeccably shaped as Joni’s best. In addition, Lother also contributes stunningly good self-arrangements of the traditional treasures “False Fly” and “As I Roved Out.” She might, however, have been wise to side-step Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me.” Her interpretation is hauntingly lovely, which makes it all wrong. The real appeal of Rundgren’s original was it’s tongue-in-cheek undercurrent of egotistic smarminess. That one debatable hiccup aside, 100 Lovers ably demonstrates that Lother is every bit as deserving of the global accolades (and platinum sales) that are currently being heaped on Norah Jones.

Originally Published