LAURA CANTRELL "Trains and Boats and Planes" Diesel Only

Laura Cantrell has a sweet voice and an old-timey sound, perfect for the covers on her new EP.
Laura Cantrell has a sweet voice and an old-timey sound, perfect for the covers on her new EP. (By Ted Barron)
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Friday, August 8, 2008

LAURA CANTRELL"Trains and Boats and Planes"Diesel Only

COUNTRY SINGER Laura Cantrell isn't the most prolific songwriter; her three previous albums all featured a large number of covers. So it's no surprise that six songs on her latest EP, "Trains and Boats and Planes," are all adaptations of other people's tunes. (The EP is a digital-only release that also includes three tracks from her earlier recordings.)

But as on her full-length albums, the real focus is on Cantrell's sweet voice, not the authorship of the songs; she sings with the purity of Alison Krauss, and her gently lilting tone captures the melancholy of the Burt Bacharach tune that gives the EP its name. The travel-themed songs are her standard fare: Her takes on Roger Miller's "Train of Life" and Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" are consistent with their original versions. The one truly bizarre song choice is New Order's "Love Vigilantes," but Cantrell twists the post-punk tune into a forlorn number that fits seamlessly with her old-timey sound.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

Appearing Saturday at Jammin' Java. (703-255-1566,http://www.jamminjava.com). Show starts at 7 p.m.


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