Review: Lynda Kay – Dream My Darling (Dreamphonic, 2010)
When we last heard from Lynda Kay, she was paired with Danny Harvey as the Lonesome Spurs, a minimalist duo whose self-titled release favored the sassy sounds of Wanda Jackson, Laurie Collins and Brenda Lee, and the melancholy country of Patsy Cline. Kay’s solo debut doubles-down on the countrypolitan heartbreak, torching its way through a dozen originals that combine the soaring ache of Cline and Roy Orbison with the deliberate tempos, hard twang and sad instrumental flourishes of ‘50s and ‘60s country. Kay’s producer (and husband) Jonny Edwards has built the arrangements into lavish sets filled with strummed guitars, pedal steel (courtesy of the immensely talented Marty Rifkin), blue piano, theatrical tom-toms, emotionally bowed strings, and chorused backing vocals. None of this distracts from the passion of Kay’s vocals as she powers through songs of broken hearts, tearful realizations, lonely hours, spiteful recriminations, emotional dead ends and, for just a moment, dreams of happiness. Don’t be misled by the campy clothes and wigs – Kay’s not wallowing in nostalgia, she’s just tipping her ten gallon hat (or her bouffant ‘do, really) in an honest homage to country music’s dressier days. Put this in the changer with Sara Evans’ Three Chords and the Truth, Mandy Barnett’s I’ve Got a Right to Cry, k.d. lang’s Shadowland and Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams; just make sure you have a big box of tissues near by.