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Jane Kramer - Carnival of Hopes (Self Release)
It takes no time at all to settle into this, the second album by singer-songwriter Jane Kramer. From the count in at the beginning of Half Way Gone, a tasty slice of Western Swing packed with the sweeping fiddle runs courtesy of Nicky Sanders, the North Carolina songstress delivers ten original songs, whilst pointing out that her own carnival of hopes is "busted and hideous and rusty and somehow still brave and sparkly", an image illustrated by the cover artwork, particularly the abandoned fairground ride. The confessional Good Woman stands out as a fine example of the honesty of Jane Kramer's song writing, delivered with an assured confidence, leaving the listener in no doubt as to her sincerity. The more playful Why'd I Do That Blues sees the singer perfectly at home with a jazz-tinged New Orleans-styled brass section, whilst the equally uplifting My Dusty Wings ventures into Bluegrass territory, which in turn demonstrates Kramer's versatility. Well produced, highly melodic and beautifully accessible, CARNIVAL OF HOPES should open a few doors for Jane Kramer in the coming months.