My first impression upon hearing the album was surprise. Looking at the cover, and the title, I was expecting something slinky, something Casablanca-ish. Instead, be ready for something Rhinestone-ish. That's not necessarily a bad thing - so long as you're ready for it! Ann's got a great voice and cinematic style that reminds me of a cross between Brandi Carlile and Dolly Parton: a little twangy at times, but still toeing that alt-country / Americana line. The one low point in the album happens when Ann covers Neil Young's Rockin' In the Free World. I know covers are supposed to be about putting your own spin on other people's tracks, but in this case it just doesn't work. I very much prefer Ann's own songs. Try out the two below and see for yourself.
Ann Vriend - Central Park Monday : When We Were Spies
Ann Vriend - St. Paul : When We Were Spies
Brandi Carlile - Throw It All Away : Brandi Carlile
Dolly Parton - 9 To 5 : 9 To 5 and Odd Jobs