Trouble & Time
Gypsy Shuffler Music

A Canadian ex-pat who recently brought her muse to the Texas Hill Country, Chris Carroll is already in good company on her debut album. With producer David Beck (a multi-instrumentalist best known for his work with Sons of Fathers), she fleshes out original songs of love and youthful vulnerability with warm layers of keyboard, mandolin, and harmonica. Not one to adopt a phony Texas twang just to fit in, Carroll’s trebly yet sturdy voice echoes Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star fame, a dreamy instrument given extra gravity by her saddest and sweetest compositions (“Just Like That,” “Nothing More”). She sounds particularly focused when given a statement of larger purpose, be it her own “Trouble & Time” or her husband Adam Carroll’s timeless “Highway Prayer,” holding her own as the band looms large behind her. She’s less sure-footed, though, when the textures drift towards R&B on “Cause or Cure” and “Mister”; perhaps that sort of authority will come with age. But when Carroll stays in her country-folk wheelhouse, Trouble & Time is a gem. — MIKE ETHAN MESSICK

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