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I’ve been listening to three great female artists in the last month; the first two, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris require little introduction to most, their bodies of work substantial, their standing already verging on legendary. The third is a name lesser known, but her album Bonfires in Silver City is undoubtedly the best of all three. Lucie Thorne is one of our own, and with this album she makes a firm statement that she is one of our finest. Working with the cream of local crop of musicians (due to a self imposed ban i am no longer allowed to laud the considerable talents or even mention the names of the Hamish Stuart/Dave Stymes rhythm section) she has produced an album of hushed tones, subtle but powerful arrangements and thoughtful lyrics. Painting with a musical palette of autumn and spring colours, Thorne finds all the right spaces in between, and alongside the afore-not-mentioned musicians her own guitar playing continues to blossom. She is one of those artists whose playing weaves seamlessly and naturally into her songs and her words. Can’t Sleep for Dreaming is the obvious way into the album, as up-tempo as it gets, with a great organ courtesy of Chris Abrahams, but it is the sparse moments like Great Wave that keep washing over you long after the tide has gone out, while Noir has favourable echoes of Concrete Blonde’s hauntingly beautiful Tomorrow, Wendy. World-class.

*** 1/2