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Richmond Times-Dispatch
By Bill Craig
 November 26, 1998
TERRI ALLARD, "Loose Change and Spare Parts" 
(Reckless Abandon Music)

   Since the 1994 release of her self-titled debut, Terri Allard has carved out a nice niche for herself as one of the leading voices in the state's singer/songwriter chorus. A regular player in Central Virginia's clubs and listening rooms, the Charlottesville resident's been branching well outside the state's borders recently, taking her songs on increasingly frequent road trips to the four corners and the center of the country. 

   Allard's new album finds her doing a little musical branching out as she heads down a couple of acoustic paths that she hasn't previously explored. In addition to a very strong batch of her usual warm contemporary folk, she's included a couple of brief but successful encounters with blues and some effectively unconventional vocal stylings. The result is an 11-song collection that is both her most emotionally satisfying work and evidence of the impressive growth that Allard has experienced as both a writer and performer.

   The CD opens in typical Allard fashion with "Lifeline," a beautiful and moving romantic ballad. Similar in style are the graceful heartache of "Words You Cannot Say," "Forbidden Fruit," a melodically mellow song of seduction, and the gentle twang and unfulfilled ambition theme of "Reckless Abandon."

   Robin and Linda Williams help out with harmonies on "We'll Have Elvis," a very cool driving tune, and Allard makes her feelings about the social value of the television industry quite clear on the slick and quick "The Television." 

   The first new wrinkle on the bluesy title song where Allard plays the role of brokenhearted torch singer. Gary Green's harmonica adds a little smoke to "La La Rosie Goes," a tension-charged portrait of midlife crisis. And with that same harmonica and her own gravelly vocals, Allard delivers "Squeaky Wheel" with a surprisingly tough and jagged edge.

   Allard gets just the right level of instrumental backing from a crack band of acoustic musicians that includes Green, Sonny Layne on upright bass, Jeff Saine on lap steel and accordion, Jim Taggert on guitar and mandolin and drummer Eddie Hall. But the boys are smart enough to stay out of her way as Allard saves the most powerful vocal work for last on the almost a cappella "I Don't Want to Know."