Home Is Where The Heart Is

Moving from the heated rush of earlier bands Hammerbox and Goodness to more intimate reflections and personal pauses, Seattle mainstay Carrie Akre showcases a quiet, serious talent on her debut solo effort.

Though Home (released on the singer's own Good-Ink Records label) shuts down guitar diva preconceptions and goes soft, it's also infinitely powerful, with Akre simultaneously emulating Billie Holiday's vocal stretch and Edith Piaf's bared-soul honesty.

Home includes elements of jazz and blues, but the stories Akre tells are absolutely country in their scorched-soul bottom lines. Melodrama is replaced by real purpose, attitude and a solid lyrical base. "Humdrum" (RealAudio excerpt) is an eerie description of a woman's search for self. "Reflection" has Akre looking at others to see her own hardened emotions.

The music on Home is equally complex. "Grey" (RealAudio excerpt) moves from acoustic bass to piano with elegance, while Akre adopts a low voice that almost recalls Leon Redbone in tonal quality. The title track, a rejuvenation song that suggests determination will win out, kicks in with electric guitar. Akre follows it with a startling and effective jump to "Limbo" (RealAudio excerpt), a song about the slow passage from earlier mistakes to long-awaited serenity.

Featuring strings, loops, quiet backing vocals, and subtlety and content over coffeehouse hyperbole, Home is a warm kitchen of ideas cooked up by an experienced and promising talent.