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Review: Christina Martin 

It’ll Be Alright (Fontana North)

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With a voice full of longing and a producer/husband who's the best pedal steel player around, Christina Martin pointedly sidesteps the option of classic country singer. Dale Murray plays straight-up rock guitar and solos tastefully on a number of tracks, particularly "I've Got a Gun." Here, Martin asserts a menacing defense against a bothersome suitor: "Take your chances with my bullet and me." It's a scenario relatable to rural Canada, though initially it feels more likely in America. A departure is "Take Me Back," inside an electronic dreamscape punctuated with a mantra chanted through multiple overdubs. The strongest candidate for a single is "You Don't Have to Leave Tonight," with its warm sentiment over a slow build to rhythm and and bath of "ooh-ooh"s. It's a well-assembled pop song where Murray's ear and Martin's emotive singing unite through many stages, lasting just over three minutes. "Things You Can't Tell by Looking Her Way" cops a hook from the chorus of Abba's "When All is Said and Done." Hey, it still works. The overall feeling, albeit with a busier drummer, is of the 1970s California melancholy ruled by Linda Ronstadt—a collection of sped-up ballads.

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