The Ozarks have a fruitful tradition of old-time music, from Ola Belle Reed to Almeda Riddle. But outside of those hilly communities, this genre been savored mostly by scholars, songcatchers and hardcore folk aficionados. With a voice like a young Nanci Griffith and a pen approaching, if never equaling, Iris Dement, Cindy Woolf (who now lives in Portland, Oregon) brings the sound of her native Arkansas into the more urbane coffeehouse and house-concert culture, though her band can kick enough for bluegrass jams and contra dances. Her impressionist lyrics reflect a gently feminist, back-to-basics view of life and love a message that's hard to dispute. And with a sound that goes down like sweet tea, who would want to?
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