There are a number of clearly defined routes for this type of music into the UK and there is no doubt that Jane Kramer has the potential to make more than a fleeting impression with the strength of this album. If anything it has more defined qualities than its acclaimed predecessor with an earthy, worn and gritty take on real life. Devoid of any superficial elements, this is a straightforward hard-core dose of reality showcasing a lauded brand of American roots music.
On a record neatly packaged in a ten track format, Jane features nine of her self-penned compositions leaving room for a solitary cover to anchor the record in track #5 position. The choice to include the Tom Petty homage to the southern states ‘Down South’ is an apt move considering Jane’s own decision to return to her home state of North Carolina. The fit is seamless as either side of this pivotal number are songs brimming with emotions and forever exploring a variety of musical directions. In the second part of the record ‘Why I’d Do That Blues’ features a little brass and encompasses a sound as implied in the title. In an alternative roots direction, ‘My Dusty Wings’ brings the curtain down with an old time bluegrass feel and a sentiment that sometimes you need to dance away your problems.
On a record which maintains a high standard from start to finish, the first four tracks set the bar at the level required for a release of profound impact. ‘Half Way Gone’ wonderfully swings the album into motion with fiddle strongly driving this opening track which delightfully states that there ‘is not enough brown liquor in the whole state of Tennessee. ‘Carnival of Hopes’ has the potential to move the listener within a tune commendable in the way it weaves into your aural senses. ‘Your Ever Green Heart’ is another solid effort, but perhaps slightly overshadowed by the superior and hard hitting ‘Good Woman’ which makes the most enticing claim for being the stand out track, although this will rotate on each listen.
Fans of American roots music will absolutely connect with the music of Jane Kramer and CARNIVAL OF HOPES possesses a limitless appeal to sustain a lengthy presence in the accessible portion of many a record collection. Super sounds, meaningful themes and authentic vibes are all present to make this a record of great merit.