Album Review

Libby Johnson - Annabella

Libby Johnson - Annabella

This is a wondrous debut, perfect in its modest way. The hooks are unassailable, the singing and playing are felt, the arrangements an autumnal cross between Lucinda-bred Americana and kudzu-style indie rock. Traces of everyone from Liz Phair to Chrissie Hynde, Susan Cowsill to Sheryl Crow, can be heard. But ultimately, Johnson -- who previously made three records with her sister Carrie in a group called 22 Brides -- brooks no comparisons. Annabella is the just sort of album Kathleen Edwards might one day make -- complete and self-possessed. Inspirational lines abound, all of them delivered in Johnson's gauzy yet grounded soprano, but the following (a strutting nod to Bob?) portends greatness: "Paleface Cinderella is preparing for the war/With her suitcase and her hand grenades, she's pounding down your door/This same sleeping beauty, who said she'd been redeemed/She's kissin' and tellin' everyone exactly what she's seen."