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ALBUM REVIEW

Libby Koch
THE SHADOW OF THIS TOWN

©2010 Independently released
MTM260602
Review by Lucky Boyd

Co-Founder, MyTexasMusic.com

$12.49

All we ever ask of musicians who release CDs is that they give us everything.  We demand that they leave nothing on the editing floor.  We expect that what we hear is one hundred percent of what the musician could give us.  It seems to be even more frustrating for fans when they get all fired up for a sophomore release only to find that ‘the first album was better’ or ‘this one didn’t measure up.’  It is, however, an extreme treat when an artist gets it right.  It is a fantastic experience when a follow-up release does all the things it should.  Libby Koch (pronounced ‘coke’) has hit a home run in this department.  Libby held nothing back on her first release, expressing passion and emotion in a bare bones release that established her as a formidable songwriter and performer.  Her follow-up blazes a path in her career that will elevate Libby’s status in Texas music.  Koch pens the lot of this eleven pack, save the one cover of a Robert Earl Keen classic.  The album takes only a slight different direction for Libby, but shows a maturation and an evolution that has meant the world to her elevated status.  The opening cut, “Lonesome Bound” sets the tone for the disc as Koch blends her folk and country influences into a storytelling collage that leaves the listener refreshed, enlightened, and entertained.  Libby lays into a blues shuffle groove on “Texas Saturday” as she offers a cut of her own that would surely be at home performed by Keen, whose cover is the wrap-up track.  Equally impressive as Koch’s writing is the fact that she performs most of the instruments on the release.  Libby has a distinctive voice, which is like gold in this industry. That being said, I think it will take one or two more releases and a couple of years of touring for Libby to narrow the scope of her expansively talented voice.  Doing so will endear her to fans as they will be able to instantly identify her from the first note of any song she sings.  It’s something all artists should do, but only a few stick it out long enough to let it happen naturally.  The slight changes from the first album to the second are evidence that Libby will easily tackle this necessary task.  She is going to be one of those artists who has an ‘early work’ sound that fans will compare and contrast to her ‘later stuff.’  This is something I can’t teach an artist, yet it’s something they have to be able to do on their own, and Libby has already taken the first step.  Koch has done all that we ask musicians to do with their recorded projects.  She has poured herself wholly into her craft, completely submerging her efforts into the recording and simply bearing it all for her fans.  Both live and in the CD player, Texas music fans are warming up to Libby, and she is making an indelible mark on the performing scene.  This album is not just a stop gap between performances for her fans, but is rather a project that should be studied and analyzed by those who are poised to become the newest Libby Koch fans.  The album doesn’t have all the slick polished tricks that are available to artists in the studio these days, but it does offer an honest, extremely well-collected recording that will serve Libby well as she continues to wedge her way into the elite list of the industry.  Yes, we expect so much, and Libby Koch has delivered.  For that, the album deserves a listen.  For that, Libby deserves a chance to perform her snapshots of life for you.  You won’t feel cheated, but rather you will become somehow just a little improved for doing so.

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