Mary Alice Wood: Daisies in My Hand

Damn!

The preceding may seem an unorthodox way to start a review, but singular topics demand singular treatment, and here we have one such: Mary Alice Wood’s Daisies in My Hand. This release, the St. Louis singer-songwriter’s second solo effort after an eponymous debut from 1993/2001, prompts exclamation precisely to the extent that it sparks jubilation. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the real McCoy.
Daisies in My Hand (regarding which Wood and her reps are negotiating with various labels) opens with “Crazy for You” and closes with “Hey Diddle Diddle,” each of which features a beat infectious enough to make a statue dance. Between those two tracks, backed ably by a clutch of musicians including local guitar ace John Horton of the Rockhouse Ramblers, Wood ranges from contemplative relationship songs like “Two Feet” and “Every Line” through the quasi-Morricone instrumental delight of “Cowboy in a Curl” to the kicky hilarity of “Mornin’ Girl” (“This double life can be excitin’,” that last archly advises, “but it darn sure takes it toll”). Particularly appealing: “If I Told You,” an acoustic number of some lyric nuance, and “Angel,” a song of subtle devastation.
All in all, Wood’s sophomore release comes highly recommended. Graced with her lovely, assured vocals, robust instrumentation, and a dozen tracks of such pleasant variety and literacy, Daisies in My Hand (once some canny label nabs it) should likewise grace the CD collections not merely of local-music boosters but of devotees of fine musicianship everywhere.

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