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Marisa Yeaman
Pure Motive
Deep Pearl Records

To most of the world, Australia seems to put out a steady stream of pop princesses, from Olivia Newton-John to present day Delta Goodrem and Kylie Minogue, but Melbourne native Marisa Yeaman is proof that Australia's female vocalists are more than mere pop confections and fluff. Born in Echuca, a town in Australia's outback, Marisa Yeaman exudes a rootsy folk-pop sound acquainted with Mindy Smith, a sultry vocal register similar to Jamie O'Neal, and an Americana/country western tincture reminiscent of Gene Watson and Roseanne Cash. Her debut album Pure Motive dips into alternative country ducts with laminas of smooth blues and newgrass elements that show a deep attachment to folk music graft from classic country persuasion.

Produced by long time friend and musician Andrew Pendlebury, Pure Motive is contemporary country with shards of classic influences recalling Carol King and Bobbie Gentry. Accompanying Yeaman, who plays acoustic guitar and accordion on the album, are Dave Steel on dobra and harmonica, and Ed Bates on pedal steel. The instrument series are melodic, fluid, and malleable as Marisa's warm vocal timbres curl around the chord progressions. The newgrass/country western melody of "Solid Ground" has a toe tapping upbeat momentum while the brushed percussions and mellow embers of the pedal steel on "Holy Water" are gently flumed as Marisa's vocals sensually cuddle the movements with caressive strokes. The Hammond organ on the intro of "Didn't Mean To Fall In Love" is augmented with rootsy-pulsed percussions and acoustics purveying an alt-country vibe.

The smooth blues-torch lit piano melody of "Lonely Puppet" lutes a mournful sonorous as Marisa's vocals exhibit a Jane Monheit emotive voicing, gleaming a soft, whispering warmth in the lyrics: "Everything I had to give was never enough/ What was it unspoken/ What bird to hard to free/ You kept it all inside, the love you had for me." The cushiony plush guitar ballad of "King Tide" releases an acoustic folk-pop dew bathing Marisa's gentle vocals looming a Courtney Jaye sensibility. The rootsy-folk cadences of "No Fences," "Watching Fire Burn," and "Vacant Sign" are reflective of John Prine, Rachel Proctor, and Josh Kelley. These coffeehouse-stylized melodies are offset by the acoustic honky-tonk amenities on "Nightskin" and "Little Girl Lost." The gentle plunks of bongo induced beats on "Gasoline And Fire" interlace the soothing acoustic strings and snuggling vocals enshrining the melody with calming pulses.

Marisa Yeaman's full length debut album is a folk-pop Kasbah filled with tinges of Americana, roots music, and bluesy amulets. She has the warm vocal timbres of her predecessors without the pretension. She has played music festivals throughout her native Australia as well as around Europe, including Holland and Belgium. Previous to her full length debut Pure Motive, she has released three EP's and continues to tour in support of her album. While growing up, she traveled a lot due to her parents always moving around, and yet, in many ways, her journey has only just begun.

-Susan Frances

Track listing:
1. Watching Fire Burn
2. Holy Water
3. Vacant Sign
4. No Fences
5. Solid Ground
6. King Tide
7. Didn't Mean To Fall In Love
8. Lonely Puppet
9. Damned If You Love Me
10. Nightskin
11. Little Girl Lost
12. Another Day
13. Gasoline And Fire

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