Low Down And Up

Toni Price

Antone's / Sire Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Something tells me that Toni Price learned something from labelmate Candye Kane.

Price's last effort, the live Sol Power, showed an artist who seemed to champion acoustic country with both touches of blues and twang in the music. Around the same time, on Kane's Diva La Grande, Price and Kane duetted on a twangy version of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'".

Now, on Price's latest studio effort Low Down And Up, a lot of the country twang is gone (or at least is hidden very well), and has been replaced with a sound that's almost lounge-like in tone - not unlike Kane's sound. It's a change that takes a long time to get used to, and it's not the easiest disc to sit through. But once you're able to get through it, Price proves to hold her own quite well in this department.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The actual sound of this disc is incredibly soft - so soft, in fact, that I found it almost impossible to concentrate on it if I were doing something else. It took me about seven attempted listens to get through this whole disc once; that's the kind of investment of time I don't think many listeners will have to invest, much less be willing to.

Once you've broken past this first barrier, Price shows that she seems to know what she's doing with this stylistic move. Tracks like "Foolin' Around," "Don't You Think I Feel It To?", "Remember Me?" and "Lonesome Wind" all show that her vocal power isn't diminished just because the volume knob has been turned down a notch or two.

Yet there's still a part of me that misses the gentle hillbilly style of her music - and I use the term "hillbilly" in a positive way. The music I heard on Sol Power suggested that Price had tapped into a more rural form of country-folk that isn't often heard in the marketplace, and while it was a sound that needed time to grow on the listener, it was a pleasant experience overall. Not that Low Down And Up is a negative experience, but it sometimes feels like Price has purposely stepped away from those country-folk roots. The closest I heard her come, on tracks like "Out The Front Door," sounded a lot like Bonnie Raitt.

Still, Price's switch to a smoother sound could be the key to winning a broader fan base. Tracks like "Rusty Old Red River" and "Loserville Blues" are sure to increase interest in her, and it wouldn't be unjustified.

Price might no longer be the country balladeer that people grew to know on Sol Power, but she shows on Low Down And Up that she is still a force to be dealt with in the music industry.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Antone's / Sire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.