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Nancy McCallion: Take a Picture of Me (Mama Mama)

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A mainstay of the Tucson music community for more than 20 years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Nancy McCallion has created an excellent new album that couldn't be more timely.

The 12 country, blues, rock and Celtic-influenced songs examine the struggles of America's working poor and homeless populations. (A dollar from each CD will be donated to the Primavera Foundation.) A veteran of the Mollys and Last Call Girls, McCallion also faced a personal economic crisis when she was temporarily laid off from her teaching job. Although she emerged safely, she nails the voices of quiet desperation.

Among the musicians assisting are guitarist Danny Krieger, bassist Steve Grams, drummer Ralph Gilmore, accordionist Kevin Schramm and former Mollys partner Catherine Zavala.

The opening one-two punch of "He's Gone" and "Good Old Days" look at loss with wry humor. But the CD really hits its stride—and proves its diversity—in its middle. The gentle Celtic touches of the title track, which will remind listeners of the Mollys, gives way to some charming dustbowl country-blues on "It's Never Too Late to Get Lucky." That's followed by "Cruel Thing," in which alt-country meets swamp rock. And "Who's at the Window" places McCallion's sweet voice against a dark musical landscape highlighted by booming baritone guitar and aching fiddle.

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