Roth was 17 when she started recording this project, 19 when she finished, and it’s testament to her talent and maturity that you can’t tell where the performances fell chronologically. Her six originals also more than hold their own alongside three tunes written or co-written by Jon Gershen and producer/guitarist (and father) Arlen Roth – all of which sit comfortably alongside well-chosen covers of James Taylor and Bobby Darin songs.
“Waking Up” opens the set with a cinematic, train-ride feel, before Roth’s voice enters – soft but not small. The whole song vamps between two chords, but, unlike others in that mold, this is no mere hippie-dippy noodling. The melody is strong; drummer Shannon Ford and bassist Paul Ossola groove masterfully; and dad adds some tasty slide. The effect is hypnotic – here and on the poignant title track and the harder-edged “Flashing.”
“Angry River,” penned by Arlen, shows a bluesier side, but Lexie doesn’t hammer you over the head with blues mama excesses; she sucks you in with restraint and understatement.
“I Just Might” has a light Latin cadence, punctuated by the elder Roth’s acoustic fills, while Gershen’s “I’d Rather Live In The Past” strikes a modern Celtic tone, with Mindy Jostyn’s accordion and violin and Roth’s multiple tremoloed guitars, and the brief “It’s A Mystery,” with Arlen’s acoustic slide, has an “O Brother” timelessness.
The two covers are brilliant strokes – subtly accentuating “Dream Lover’s” cha-cha and getting to the heart of “You Can Close Your Eyes” – illustrating how well Lexie Roth knows her own voice.
Besides debuting a promising singer/songwriter, this represents some of Arlen Roth’s best guitar and production work – not drawing attention to himself but to what’s important here: the voice and the songs.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.