There's a great photo of Garrison Starr inside Sound of You and Me. Barely made-up, with short hair and the hint of a raised eyebrow, it's revealing like a snapshot of a long-lost friend. This is me, it suggests. This is how I'm feeling right now. That's the sense of Sound, too, Starr's second record for Vanguard. She works in between worlds, suggesting both the folk-pop of Shawn Colvin ("Sing it Like a Victim," "Black and White") and Aimee Mann's modern tales of love obscured by smog ("Beautiful in Los Angeles"), while forever remaining true to her own vocals and experiences. Starr's singing always flits on the edge wistfully, like she's finally ready to reveal what's always been on her mind. "In my heart I needed to believe I was pretending," she half-whispers in "Pretending," and the song's confessional beauty probably makes all her ex-boyfriends bawl. Her rootsy acoustic guitar is supported by clean, professional production that blends strings, electric guitar and keys for a sound with shades of her Southern background but an equal knack for adult pop radio slickness. Thankfully, it's never too slick. And Garrison Starr comes away with an album as personal as it is accessible.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.