Mary Lou Lord

Unlike rock dads, who always grin proudly and write about missing their kids while on tour, rock moms (with exception of Courtney Love) put careers on hold. Mary Lou Lord, whose fame first stemmed from a feud with Love for the affections of Kurt Cobain, took a six-year pause between studio records to get to know her newborn daughter. Lord, whose early records were often united by ironic winking, now sings with a voice that’s unapologetically pretty. She’s still decked out in studded leather wristbands and platform shoes, but Baby Blue finds her posed, Allison Moorer-style, on a wooden fence. These songs (most cowritten with Nick Saloman, longtime Lord collaborator and Bevis Frond guitarist) explore getting older and more responsible. Saloman adds both a miles-deep guitar sound and subtle British detail, including covers of Badfinger (“Baby Blue”) and Pink Floyd (“Fearless”). Lord’s affection for rootsier sounds, in songs such as “Long Way From Tupelo” and “Farming It Out,” matches the gentle resignation of the whole album. In the gently resurrected Bevis Frond tune “The Wind Blew All Around Me,” she sings Look at me aging/Look at me shrinking/I still feel the same, echoing the sentiment at the center of this album. She may still spend her time singing on the streets, but this time she’s singing for the people with time to actually listen.

Categories: Music