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With her hair going a glorious gray, Natalie Merchant now has the look to go with her time worn vocals and lyrics. In her days with 10,000 maniacs and as a solo artist, Merchant has always had a regal air about her music and on her self titled and self produced album, her first of new marerial in 13 years she transcends the singer songwriter genre with elegance and grace.

Natalie Merchant’s seriousness in the new album’s quiet, organic arrangements emphasizes that it isn’t the current trends in pop that are influencing her but just the opposite. This is an album of modern folk music with an orchestral beauty to it blending strings, piano, organ and wind instuments.

Merchant’s philanthropy and social activism manifest themselves in songs that she says are” informed by experience and keen observation, dealing with issues of love gained and lost, regret, denial, surrender, greed, destructiveness, defeat and occaisional triumphs.” 

Luxuriating in magnificent austerity and earnestness, Natalie Merchant has returned to the world of music after what for some would be a lifetime of having stayed away, but here she is still trodding down a path that few can or will follow.  Lucky for us…

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