Like her stablemates, the Star Room Boys, Florence Dore creates songs with a visceral organic link to traditional American music. Perfect City, Dore’s first release, displays the sort of literary verve you might expect from a professor of American Literature. Teaching posts at both NYU and Kent State University should keep Ms. Dore more than fully employed, but she still had time to write all 10 songs on Perfect City. Her vocal delivery reminds me of both Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams, but with a slightly more urban and worldly manner.
Produced by Steve Earle’s guitarist, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Perfect City features Florence Dore’s regular Manhattan-based band made up of Chris Erikson on lead guitar and background vocals, Dennis Diken on drums, Scott Yoder on bass and background vocals. Jim Duffy on organ, and the Eric Ambel on dulcitar, piano, acoustic and electric guitars complete the album personnel. Orchestration throughout the album is Spartan with just enough layers to fill it out. The opening song leads off with a rustic electric guitar riff followed by the lines “Getting hammered with Maury, looking for the light. Making plans for the future, late on a Tuesday night. Spending all of my money, on white and three dollar stamps, rolling rock bands on nothing, on a credit card advance. Is too late? Have they chosen another girl? Is it too late?” Guitar-driven roots rock full of evocative images and catchy hooks and bridges makes this disc easy to enjoy and hard to take off your CD player.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.