Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., April 9, 2004
Floramay HollidayTrouble and a Truer Sound (Roseneath) Floramay Holliday has come a long way in the six years she's been in Austin. The South Carolina native shows a lot of growth as a singer and a songwriter on Trouble and a Truer Sound, her second disc. Still, her talents aren't quite as polished as they might be. Her voice, which often recalls Michelle Shocked here, is frequently flat and lacks range, a problem over the course of 13 songs (plus a hidden track) attempting to bridge a lot of different styles. At heart, Trouble wants to be country, and Holliday's band is successful in this endeavor. There's Western swing, country rock, blues, and honky-tonk played in the best Lone Star tradition. Unfortunately, it's undermined by Holliday's clichéd lyrics and tired melodies. She scores major points by getting Ray Benson to duet on the swinging opener "Baby's Back in Texas," while Guy Clark joins her on a misty take of his "Anyhow, I Love You." Even the appearance of this pair of Texas legends seems contrived, though, when it seems that all involved were looking for dynamic and spirited. One moment near Trouble's end, the sprite, Shelley King co-write "Out on the Town," shines with a lighthearted glee the rest of the disc sadly lacks. A few more like it and Holliday might find that truer sound she's searching for.