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Rhythm & Views

Cathy Rivers

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Even as the summer storms fade into memory, the sound of emotional monsoons still resonates in the music of local Americana torch singer Cathy Rivers. Her second CD, a delectable six-song affair, is a sultry collection that'll haunt the same listeners who dig Calexico and the Nick Luca Trio; members of both appear on it.

Other than Rivers' lovely, sometimes-husky contralto, the star of this album is producer and guitarist Teddy Morgan, in whose Tucson-based studio most of the tracks were created. Morgan's well-modulated guitar squall enlivens all the tunes, from the crunchy, balls-out honky-tonk rocker "Desolation" to the undeniable pop hooks of "Out of My Head," which he co-wrote with Ms. Rivers.

The CD is a moody triumph, from the grumbling bass-and-drums thunder of the opening tune, "Western Wind," to the country-rock-beatnik-noir masterpiece "Tennessee Gentleman," which was actually recorded at 3 a.m. in the cavernous Rialto Theatre.

The melancholic in all of us will respond to the delicate foreboding contained in Rivers' moving "Holiday Song," on which she cannily equates to the passing of the seasons and the setting of the sun while Leah Stanley's cello evokes the wistful qualities of European art song. Nice record, this.

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