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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