The Happiest Lamb - Side One Dummy
FILTER Grade: 80%
By Lauren Barbato on August 24, 2010
Being the grand niece of Judy Garland means you have some pretty large slippers to fill, which is perhaps the reason why Audra Mae downplays her royal heritage. Preferring the simplicity of the prairie land over the glitz of Hollywood life, Mae’s debut LP is rooted in the American heartland, complete with languorous ballads, breathy vocals, and a touch of blues. “Don’t go finding someone to pass your time/And leave you blind to me,” she cries on “My Lonely Worry,” while Americana anthem “The River” is as seamless, and static, as Oklahoma’s rolling hills. It is not until “Bandida”—a howling war cry completely stripped-bare save for the sharp plucking of an acoustic guitar—and emotionally charged closer “Little Sparrow” that her vocals take the reigns. It’s tracks like these that separate the ranchers’ wives from the open-prairie Annie Oakleys—it’s just too bad Mae didn’t discover this first before saying “I do” at the county fair.