Multi-instrumentalist Linda McRae is best known as a member of Celtic-rockers Spirit of the West when she performed during the band’s peak years from 88 to 96. I can still remember hearing And If Venice Is Sinking for the first time, being drawn in with her incredible accordion playing. I never knew how cool an accordion could be. And now with her fourth solo album Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts, McRae is showing that there’s still more yet to be discovered.
Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts is a venture to the old-time sounds of music’s past. Coming off like a more daring and deeper version of Patsy Cline, McRae’s voice is rich, bold and extremely expressive. She’s suitable for the rooted vibrant and soulful country sound she’s taken to. On this album she plays accordion, guitar, banjo, bass and even a porchboard stompbox. The combination gives the entire album a front porch feel to it that is about as honest and down to Earth as one could be.
Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts is the real deal. The music is honest, the songs all tell stories and McRae is absolutely adorable at the helm. Her voice is one of a genuine storyteller who has lived a vivid life of compassion, love and wonder. One would think she had a hard past life somewhere in the deep south. I hope McRae puts this out on vinyl at some point because I’d love to hear a worn out copy on a worn out old record player. That would be a magical listen and deserving of the honour.
Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts shows just how talented and deep rooted Linda McRae really is. Although some of the songs stick out a bit more than others (Rough Edges and Ragged Hearts, Deck of 52 and In The Valley Below for example) , this is an album to listen to in its entirety and to listen to at the kitchen table or on the front porch. I adore this album. It brought out a piece of me that I never knew existed – and old and ragged part.