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Natalie Maines 

Mother (Sony)

Wondering where the Dixie Chicks leader has been since winning a truckload o’ Grammys back in 2007? Jamming in Ben Harper’s garage, apparently. On Mother, Maines takes a deliberate step away from the successful music that afforded her a six-year break and wanders through the adult alternative section. It’s nearly all covers, including one of Eddie Vedder’s ukulele songs (with a band), Patty Griffin’s “Silver Bell” and Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.” Though the Chicks have always co-written, there’s something off about one of pop music’s best vocalists singing a bunch of old songs, making it feel more like a novelty and less like a fully realized solo effort. But at least there’s still that voice.
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