The Good Graces “Prose And Consciousness” (Potluck Foundation 2019)

‘Prose And Consciousness’ is the fourth full album from The Good Graces, a band that is basically Kim Ware and some backing musicians. Ware started out as a drummer but in 2006 found a beat up old guitar in an Atlanta flea market which she named Buzzy and it inspired her to become a singer-songwriter.

What stands out on the album is Ware’s distinctive voice which always sounds as if it’s just a little off the note she’s trying to sing but this gives it an engaging tone that fits the eleven self-penned songs on the album and draws the listener in. Combined with her delightful Georgia drawl, Ware’s voice is charming, unique and a pleasure to listen to.

The songs are in the main love songs, but Ware finds a different take on the subject with enigmatic lyrics about forbidden love (‘Sit On Your Hands’), ambitious love (‘Three’) and even love thwarted by the weather (‘Snow Angels’). There’s an integrity to Ware’s songs and as she says “This album represents honesty. It’s really important to put something out that is honest and real”.

One of the stand-out tracks is ‘His Name Was The Colour I Loved’ which is about Ware’s father. To quote Ware again “It didn’t start out being autobiographical, but then it turned out to be about my Dad, and times we would take a walk after a frost to look at the buds to see if they were still frozen, to see if the crops would survive. Writing this way pushes me to write outside my typical subject matter”.

Another stand-out is ‘Sit On Your Hands’ where Ware implores her lover to “Just sit on your hands if that’s what it takes not to touch me. I’ll cover my lips ‘cause that makes it harder to kiss your mouth” – almost an anti-love song!

The instrumentation on the album is nothing out of the ordinary with the basic Americana line-up of acoustic, twangy electric and pedal steel guitars, wailing harmonica, violin, banjo, drums and bass most of which are played by Ware herself. There are also some count-ins, and some words spoken at the end of songs. There’s even the sound of wind blowing on the opening track ‘Mar Vista Point’ which sounds as if it was recorded outside in the open air rather than in the Green House Studio in Marietta, Georgia where the album was cut.

All in all, ‘Prose And Consciousness’ is an excellent album well sung, well played and well produced – what more could you want.

Kim Ware's distinctive voice makes this album stand out from the crowd
7/10

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