Lynda Kay's debut country album, Dream My Darling, is one of those releases that feels like a record that got stuck behind the stereo console for forty years, only to be treasured once its existence was rediscovered. It's very Patsy Cline-esque, save for the syrupy strings and Owen Bradley backing singers that make Cline's records sound so dated today. Think of k.d. lang minus the kitsch (though Lynda does don some very serious wigs). Lynda's smooth voice stays that way most of the time, yet on occasion it just about cracks—in the good kind of way. The way that tells you she's singing her songs for real, like on "Ain't Good Enough" or "Graveyard Shift." She's joined by Billy Bob Thornton on "All I Ever Wanted," which is a pretty good song, though I'm not sold on BB's vocals. (I did like him as Mr. Woodcock though...)
The instrumentation, though, is right on the money throughout Dream My Darling, with just enough pedal steel and minimal violin (as opposed to fiddle), and the song selection is all originals. Which is a good move, Lynda, 'cause the songs are great and it keeps people like me from comparing performances of classic country discs with modern interpretations. Sure, we gotta trot out the comparisons for "in general" purposes, as above, but the dozen doozies on this disc make it stand out among the annual crop of copycat country chanteuses.
3/5 (Dreamphonic, available via LyndaKay.com)
Photo by Kevin Scanlon for L.A. Weekly