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Richmond Times-Dispatch
By Bill Craig
 May 23, 2002

TERRI ALLARD, "Makes No Sense" 
(Reckless Abandon Music)

No losers here
Allard's mastered the art of the Americana ballad

   Maybe the most important thing to know about Terri Allard's new CD is that it charts little, if any, new musical territory. The Charlottesville singer-songwriter stays right in the middle of the country-folk trail that she navigated on her previous three albums.

Thank goodness.

Allard's latest provides 10 more arguments (nine originals plus Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm") for what her fans already know and record labels, both big and small, don't get. Allard has mastered the art of the Americana ballad.

There's nothing particularly complex about Allard's songwriting.

She doesn't rely on big sound. This is pretty much an all-acoustic affair, marked by intelligently subtle use of Gary Green's harmonica, Jim Taggart's mandolin and Jeff Saine's lap steel. Allard's most potent weapon is her voice, a sultry combination of sweetness and grit.

And Allard doesn't rely on big words, hidden meanings or highbrow imagery. You don't need a thesaurus and an English degree to get the messages of her love-and-life-gone-right, love-and-life-gone-wrong songs.

And there's not a loser in the bunch. Whether she's being mildly contemptuous ("Price You Pay," "You'll Learn"), wounded but proud ("Won't Say Goodbye") or romantically patient ("Happy Endings"), Allard wraps up her emotions in truly attractive acoustic melodies.

The highest intensity comes on "Bright Day," a tribute to a late friend. And as a nice little bonus, Mary Chapin Carpenter helps out with vocal and songwriting assistance on "Anna Carolyn."