East to the Sea
Review of 'East to the Sea' by Steve McPhearson from Pulse of the Twin Cities: 'It's surprisingly easy to mess up something as simple as recording a singer playing piano. The temptation is to get the best sounding piano, the best sounding mics and the best sounding room and just let the tape roll, but Duluth-based Mary Bue has done something much more than that on this 14-track disc. Instead of the pristine and antiseptic sound that dominates so many singer/songwriters' albums, Bue opts for ambience and grit here and it's fantastic. The disc is shot through with a distinctly North Shore aesthetic, from the ringing chords and tinkling bells of "The Long Days" to the empty and slightly dissonant swing of "Song for Holly." Points of reference include the more intimate moments of Sarah McLachlan and other big-voiced youngsters like our own JoAnna James. Altogether, it's some great weekend-breakfast-making music, like you've woken up mid-morning on an overcast Sunday on Lake Superior by the sound of muted music, and as you wander downstairs you find Ms. Bue seated at the creaky piano in the parlor, just playing for herself.'