Review: Maverick Magazine (UK)

Warm and teasing she weaves an enchanting snare…

Creative fiddle playing vocalist / songwriter Stephanie Bettman not only draws on bluegrass and country, but strains of folk and jazz as she displays great flair.  Warm and teasing she weaves an enchanting snare on “Man From Arkansas,” and the folksy “Get Close To Me (I Am Love)” with her vocals aided by her own masterful fiddle on the latter.  The next minute with multipicker Luke Halpin (mandolin), George Doering (guitar) and Peter Thomas (drums) it is all hands to the pump on “Separate Ways” as they all hit the road running – country fashion.  “Evening Prayer” is a remarkable, energy building cut that produces some of the keenest picking.  Possessing lots of fabulous madolin, percussion, guitar and bass, Bettman jams it up like few others as she leads the ensemble with great imagination.

Produced by Richard Greene — a top ranking fiddler having played with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys and was an ex-fellow memeber with Peter Rowan of Seatrain — he creates some solid and commendable sounds. Few come any finer or more exciting than “Seed Of Doubt,” a tune that has Bettman and Carl Verheyen (electric guitar) and Halpin plus a strong rhythm section stoke up the fire.  With an occasional nod to Joan Baez, Bettman varies her style; “The Letting Go” momentarily possisses a Judds-like feel akin to “Mama He’s Crazy” as middle-ground folk-pop filters through.  While a more carefree feel is tendered on “Lulu Wants To Die” as Stephanie lets her hair down and boogies, with an electric lead guitar run reminiscent of Billy Swan.

If I was too critical, it would be to suggest the Southern Californian Bettman should channel her mind more on making music possessing a greater country or bluegrass content, and to edge away from the folk-pop of “The Only Way To Love You.”  Good though the sound may be.

by Maurice Hope
UK’s Maverick Magazine
April 2009

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