Consumer Guide Album
Amy Rigby: Little Fugitive [Signature Sounds, 2005]
Trying to be hardheaded, I ask myself how the soul-horned "It's Not Safe" or the wan "Always With Me" would sound on an album by someone similar I don't care for--Aimee Mann, or Gillian Welch. The answer is that a differently arranged "It's Not Safe" would be a highlight for either, and that the mournful "Always With Me" is there for mood and pace. A cover sticker quotes the claim that she's as consistent as Richard Thompson or John Prine, but Thompson hasn't been her match lyrically for decades, and Prine, bless his heart, has recorded one album of new material since 1995. It really is quite simple--no one of any gender or generation has written as many good songs in Rigby's realistic postfolk mode since she launched Diary of a Mod Housewife in 1996. She's the best, plus a fine singer in an apt doing-the-dishes mode. Not counting the heart-tugging "Dancing With Joey Ramone," my current fave is "So You Know Now," in which a beloved tells her perfect man how she was once a slut. "Year of the Binge" could be about the same woman. Who almost certainly isn't Rigby--when would she have had the time? But the mod ex-housewife knows her well.