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Fort Collins Coloradoan
By Tim Van Schmidt

TERRI ALLARD, "Loose Change and Spare Parts" 
(Reckless Abandon Music)

Allard defines Americana style on her latest release

With a robust voice and an intimate, personal songwriting style, Virginia based singer songwriter Terri Allard brings a strong and authentic voice to the Americana music scene. 'Americana" is a word that is usually used to describe a radio programming format that plays primarily acoustic based, song oriented music leaning heavily on country sounds. Where there is a radio format, though, there are artists and Allard is Americana through and through.

On her recent independent release "Loose Change and Spare Parts" Allard defines the Americana sound over the course of 11 tracks. That means taking guitar oriented songs and spicing them up with decidedly American musical influences including .. blues, folk, pop, jazz and, most certainly, country. While starting from the same place -a guitar and a voice - Allard's music demonstrates the true breadth and richness of Americana with flair.

"Lifeline," the opening track on "Loose Change and Spare Parts," is a heartfelt acoustic ballad. The title song features a smoldering, jazzy shuffle. The song "The Television" has an easy zydeco feel to it while "Squeaky Wheel" is some deep, bluesy rock. "I Don't Want To Know" is a gentle, smooth pop song.

The anchor on "Loose Change and Spare Parts" is not the mix of musical styles, however, but the strength of AIlard's original songs. Her lyrics, in particular, show both a strength of character and a love for words. From the restless woman eager to hit the read in "We'll Have Elvis" to the storyteller who observes the fate of a housewife in "La La Rosie Goes," Allard comes on with a voice of a compassionate and ambitious human being. She admits to passionate desires on "Forbidden Fruit" but won't settle for leftovers on "Loose Change and Spare Parts." She has the strength to not only confront a lover's cold shoulder in "Words You Cannot Say," but also her own fears of growing and aging in "Reckless Abandon"

Even better than the attitude of Allard's songs on "Loose Change and Spare Parts" is her attention to the lyrics. "Borrowed Time" especially reveals an artist who can hear a lost loved one's voice in the wind and their warmth "in stranger's smiles." Everything Allard puts into her songs as a writer is matched by her talents as a performer, and the album features a smoky alto voice that easily rises and falls with the lyrical content - and the shifting patchwork of musical styles.

"Loose Change and Spare Parts" is Allard's third album release. Her first, self titled album was released in 1994. Since then, she has established herself as one of the brightest new talents on the Americana and contemporary country circuit. That includes playing at the Kerrville New Folk Festival in Texas, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and the 1998 AM JAM Festival in Washington, DC. She was an entertainer at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and a main stage performer at the 1999 North American Folk and Dance Alliance Conference in Albuquerque.