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I'm sitting here waiting for words to come and practically defeating that purpose by playing a song off of Rita Hosking's new album over and over because it strikes so deep. The song is The Coyote and it is only one of a string of songs on what I already consider Hosking's best album to-date but, goddamn, it is hammering me to death. There is something in her voice, what I call the high lonesome, that I hear all too seldom and when it comes along, I can't get enough. So I stall. I hit repeat and lean back and let the music wash over me. Her voice is a sledgehammer to my heart when she reaches for the high note. I can almost feel it in my soul.

The album is called Burn and you might want to write that down because if you have any love at all for Zoe Muth or Nanci Griffith, you should check it out. Hosking shares more than a little of what those two bring to the microphone, in both voice and song. I loved her earlier albums, Silver Stream and Come Sunrise, on which she mixed mountain with modern, mining with the everyday. On Burn, she leaves the mountain on the mountain and concentrates on the task at hand. That task is creating the best music she can and with the help of stellar musicians, she does just that.

She stacks the songs one on top of the other and my first time through I kept waiting for something a bit less. It never happened. Call what she does folk with just a touch of twang, country with tinges of European folk or just Americana, it is a collection of which she can be proud. On some songs, she sings with that ease which Muth brings to her music and that certain something which turns a story into a song of consequence a la Griffith. What is that saying? A listen is worth a thousand words? You have to hear this to understand.

I follow Hosking on Facebook. I could sense her excitement as she worked her way through the sessions. I could almost feel the angst as she awaited the final product and knew her joy when it was finally received. It was better than a soap opera and as good as an excellent concept album. It was downright fun, in fact. I can't wait for her next album just to go through it all over again.

In the meantime, I am going to thoroughly enjoy digesting Burn. As soon as I can get The Coyote out of my system. I guarantee that that won't be anytime soon. The song has my DNA all over it. I'm pretty sure the entire album does too.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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