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Basia Bulat, Heart of My Own (Secret City) 

The follow-up to her Polaris-nominated 2007 debut, Bulat's sunshiny voice is again the crowning jewel of the record. This is a louder, more orchestrated record, with strings, brass and percussion appended to her own guitar and autoharp, rollicking numbers like "Gold Rush" and "If Only You" punctuated by more raucous drumbeats (provided by Bulat's brother Bobby), a darker sound to "Sugar and Spice" and mournful banjo twang on the title track. While Heart of My Own feels older and wiser, Bulat's first album was characterized by a roughness due to her losing her voice during the recording; with more time and money to record Heart of My Own, the smoother, more polished sound lacks somewhat of her first record's folky immediacy.

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Vol 26, No 28
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