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October 2013

Rae Billing

It has been five years between solo albums for highly accomplished country-folk singer/songwriter Rae Billing, but Walls & Fences proves to be well worth the wait. It's Billing's fourth solo album; prior to that she fronted Crybaby, an undervalued alt-country band well ahead of its time.

Billing has one of those goose bumps-inducing voices a la Lucinda Williams, and she writes powerfully poetic songs. Highlights include the timely social conscience of "Sacramento River" and haunting "And Pretend".

As ever, she's surrounded by great musicians, including guitarist Andrew Aldridge and producer Michael J. Birthelmer. English critics love her, and she deserves a higher profile here. The album comes out on the HUG-MUSIC label, run by roots music veteran Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies), a longtime Billing supporter.

She launched the disc at Toronto's Dakota this week, and plays The Casbah Lounge in Hamilton on Nov. 8.

Kerry Doole