I can get into old-school country and bluegrass - Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Bill Monroe - but country music from about 1980 on just isn't really my thing. So it's actually a testament to Peacock that I find "Love Remains" pretty enjoyable. By hewing a little closer to country's roots than a lot of her contemporaries, Peacock puts together a record that will appeal to fans of both the old and new school.


 

To put it plainly, I am not the right person to review Alice Peacock's "Love Remains." I listen to just about every genre of music with the notable exception of modern country. I think it has something to do with my parents dragging me to Brooks & Dunn -- my first live concert -- against my will as a little kid.

Regardless, I can get into old-school country and bluegrass -- Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Bill Monroe -- but country music from about 1980 on just isn't really my thing.

So it's actually a testament to Peacock that I find "Love Remains" pretty enjoyable. She certainly catches the ear at the outset: "I'd like to get stoned/Never come home/I'd like to be free/Not do what I should/Do what feels good/With whomever I please" kicks off the opener "All About Me."

The rambling guitar figure and simple melody that grows more and more intricate is very reminiscent of some of the Grateful Dead's more countrified songs, or more precisely, Jerry Garcia's psychedelic-cowboy side project, New Riders of the Purple Sage.

Speaking of rambling, I'm getting off the point here.

"Real Life" quickly veers back into familiar Nashville territory, and while several tracks go over themes familiar to most country fans ("If I Could Talk to God," Forgiveness," the title track), the Chicago native make several surprising moves.

The light guitar and pleading cellos of "I Am Mary" color Peacock's exploration of  the life of a schizophrenic homeless woman, not exactly standard fare, particularly her attention to lyrical detail ("Life's a fabric/But when I grabbed it/All I got was a handful of threads," "Conversations and medications/All my friends have left me now/No one could see them/But now I need them/To help me figure all this out").

"City of Angels" has a little of the blues-snarl her hometown is famous for, and "Wrong Times" could be a June Carter Cash song, with Johnny's band backing her.

By hewing a little closer to country's roots than a lot of her contemporaries, Peacock puts together a record that will appeal to fans of both the old and new school.

Hear samples from "Love Remains" at Amazon.com, or visit Peacock's MySpace page.

Sussex Countian