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A Subtle Step Forward: Erin Cole-Baker 

Local songstress Erin Cole-Baker releases her new album Talon and Spur.

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Erin Cole-Baker

Talon and Spur

Erin Cole-Baker has earned her stripes in Bend's local music scene. As one half of The Erins, Cole-Baker displayed strong songwriting capabilities and an ability to fit in well with different folk styles. Now, with her solo release Talon and Spur, we hear what seems like a matured songwriter whose songs are solidly structured and lyrically unique. The album proves one of the most complete folk-oriented offerings to come out of Central Oregon in recent memory. Rooted in Americana, the record also echoes the indie acoustic vibe that's been blowing up in Portland for the past few years.

Talon and Spur opens with "Start All Over Again," an impressively subtle number that gives us the first sign that Cole-Baker has taken a huge skip forward in the past couple years. "Morning Spell" features gorgeous lyrics that seem steeped in personal experience - of which Cole-Baker has plenty.

She was born in California, but grew up in New Zealand, the accent from which she still proudly carries (at least when speaking). These days, she travels extensively, and actually spent the past few weeks leading up to her album release touring in France. Her website indicates she'll be soon heading to New Zealand for some homecoming shows, as well.

For the most part, Talon and Spur is marked with acoustic mellowness, but when she borrows a title from John Hughes with "Trains, Planes and Automobiles," she takes it up a notch - not much, but enough to tap your toe - and this is where she's at her best, and it's easy to imagine how it would sound on stage, where we hope to see more of her as she piggybacks off this strong offering.

Erin Cole-Baker CD Release Party

Casey Parnell opens. 7pm Saturday, December 12. Liberty Theater, 849 NW Wall St. $10/adv, $12/door. Tickets at Ranch Records and Backporch Coffee Roasters.

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