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Washington Post

By Mike Joyce
January 10, 1997

TERRI ALLARD, "Rough Lines" 
(Reckless Abandon Music)

Allard's 'Lines': Universal Themes

It's hardly a coincidence that singer-songwriter Terri Allard's new album, "Rough Lines,' sounds as if it were made by a small circle of friends. The album, in fact, was recorded in a chapel, where Allard and her collaborators formed a close-knit ensemble.

Tender and reflective but never self-indulgent, Allard's songs-and her expressive voice-often glow in this intimate setting. Some of the lyrics are inspired by personal relationships-"A Song for David," for example, is a touching homage to Allard's disabled brother-but more often the songs address the universal themes of love and loss with unusual grace and soul. For proof, check out "Dance Again,' a poignant country waltz, or 'So Like the Moon,' the album's bittersweet coda. The most emotionally compelling tune, though, is "Baby's Baby,' a sorrowful commentary on our times. "We got babies raising babies,' Allard laments.

What's more, the soft-spun arrangements, colored by acoustic and lap steel guitars, mandolin and harmonica, are distinctive in their own right. Neatly tailored to fit the prevailing mood, each enhances the poetry and compassion inherent in Allard's music.