Spit and Polish - 2002 - 41 minutes

'When the Roses Bloom Again', the second album from US songstress Laura Cantrell, is classic country with the evocative sound of pedal steel running through tales of heartbreak and bittersweet love.

Cantrell combines her own compositions with songs from the pens of Joe Flood (the upbeat, rootsy 'All The Same To You') and Amy Rigby, revisits an old Everly Brothers' standard ('Oh So Many Years') and uses Wilco's arrangement of a Carter Family tune on the lonesome title track.

Lacking the rawness of Lucinda Williams or the passion of Emmylou Harris, Cantrell's voice nevertheless has both clarity and sincerity, showcased here by simple production from Jay Sherman-Godfrey, who also writes for and plays on the album.

With Cantrell's self-penned tracks - particularly the lovely 'Mountain Fern' about a 40's country singer called Molly O'Day - more than able to stand beside the well-chosen covers, 'When the Roses Bloom Again' is a satisfying trip through the old, the new, the borrowed and even the blue. Looking forward to her third outing already.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Too Late For Tonight - All The Same To You - Early Days - Don't Break The Heart - Wait - Mountain Fern - Vaguest Idea - Yonder Comes A Freight Train - Broken Again - When The Roses Bloom Again - Conqueror's Song - Oh So Many Years