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CD Review: Eddi Reader 

Love is the Way (Rough Trade)

Eddi Reader has been performing in some capacity since the 1980s, and Love Is the Way reverberates with the sort of confidence and talent that only a seasoned vet could muster. Her songs are a relaxed take on folk-pop, full of dusty, slow-paced waltzes, delicate balladry and shuffling piano ditties meant for romanticized venues like honky-tonk bars, low-lit basement clubs and ornate theaters. And while there's something very traditional in Reader's timbre, this isn't the sort of old-timey revivalist shtick that less-talented musicians have found so quaint the past few years. This is songwriting in a classic vein. "Dragonflies" plays out like a gentle and elegant summer wind as it bounces along on subtle strings and campfire drums. "Dandelion" is a classic nightclub love song, complete with a rollicking piano, accordion moan and sultry vocals, while "Roses" recalls the singer-songwriter era with its simple guitar-pop and maraca shake. This is Reader's eighth album of original material rooted in traditional styles, yet she still manages to have something fresh to say. Whelihan

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