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Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl: Children of Fortune (Self-released)

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This terrific CD goes well beyond my expectations of this duo from Bisbee. I'd heard some murmurs from music cognoscenti about their Southwestern-style take on indie-acoustic folk, but I hadn't really heard much music from the team of Derrick and Amy Ross, despite the fact that they have released two previous albums since their formation in 2003.

Most impressive, Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl seem capable of playing in almost any style—from the wistful country-folk of "Down Here" to the Appalachian-meets-Western storytelling of "For the Birds," and from the Tin Pan Alley-inspired "Sorry S'nor" to the vivacious chamber pop of "Sammy."

Derrick and Amy don't limit themselves to acoustic guitars, either. First of all, electric guitar ripples through the tunes, creating an appealing counterpoint with wooden instruments. The arrangements are lush and expansive; take "BD," which is more than just a train song, with dramatic piano and strings framing a sorrowful tale of death on the rails. The electric-piano chords subtly hint at a bouncy 1970s pop vibe on "Nancy Superstar" and the jaunty "Tumbleweed."

You know it's a good sign when you don't want a record such as this one to end. But you can always hit "play" again.

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