It would be a mistake to think of Darcie Deaville in terms of singer-songwriters. Deaville is first and foremost a musician, as is evident by her competence here not only on the fiddle, but also with the guitar and mandolin as well. Her songs are built around tunes, a succession of melodic phrases and gorgeous fiddle runs in between. If Deaville has yet to work out all the kinks in her vocal range, she makes good use of the ethereal, almost high-lonesome tone she hits in the upper registers. Her lyrics are flinchingly straightforward, delivered with no wry detachment or ironic distance whatsoever, and it's in the stories told on this debut that Deaville leaves her mark on the listener. "Who Needs You," "Picture of a Dream/ Icy Mountain," and "When I Was a Child" all do well to set the tone for "Icy Barrel of a Loaded Gun," an intense and frightening account of child abuse. While the survival of harsh treatment at the hands of family and lovers are not untouched subjects in country music, the images of the "Icy Barrels" the singer has survived in her life are harrowing. In the fiddlework, in the words, and in the supporting cast of musicians, there is power in this album, and if it isn't a tornado, it's building up to be one.
3 stars-- Christopher Hess