Can't Complain (Independent)
Mother Jane

By David Lilly

Mother Jane beckons everyone with functional hearing and a hankering for fem-folk music to pull up a campfire, take a load off and get, well, folked up. Hailing from Lexington, Mother Jane (a.k.a. Beth Burden and Lisa Raymond) is yet another act to watch on the seemingly rampant list of acoustic talent in this region. On this, their third album, they've enlisted Matt Loftis, Richard Easterling and Steve Miller for additional drums, bass and keys.

While the lyrics don't jump off the page (at me) when read, hearing Burden and/or Raymond sing, "You forget the better part of me/ Dance away the oversight/ Talk away the matter/ When will I move up a rung/ On this family ladder," enables one to sympathize with the protagonist's angst, even while bouncing a knee to the catchy tune of, "Better Part of Me." In defiance of our "victimized" times, the protagonist of "Greener in My Yard" isn't gloating, but rejoicing in her life, singing, "You've got weeds/ My flowers bloom/ April, May Turns into June/ and the grass is always greening in my yard." That could be another way of saying her glass is half full. Talk about relating to the little engine that could, how about a toast to life. Get a spiritual lift with, "To Climb," a shiny, happy tune. Everybody clap now and sing along! "To the top of the mountain/ On a sunny afternoon/ Just popped open a cold one/ And I hand it to you...Gotta hand it to you/ Everything is clearer way up in these clouds." Ya gotta hear it.

Call me full of testosterone, but I'd really like to hear these songs plugged in and cranked up or at least pushed closer to Jim Croceville. As it is, though, the material is good, the music and singing are really well done and the album is quite likely to please fans of the genre. If you haven't much of an ear for folk, this record is still worth hearing, especially in the company of a female friend.

Get to know Burden and Raymond better at www.motherjane.com, featuring samples from their three records, a gig schedule and actual photographic likenesses of the folky duo both onstage and off.