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If one were to select the best modern crafter of Young- or Dylan-esque folk-rock out of a lineup, a 23-year-old Scottish woman named Rachel Sermanni likely would not have landed too high on many peoples' lists. Her 2012 debut, Under Mountains, was full of rich Highland imagery that showed her prowess as a lyricist and promise as musician, but it was certainly a more standard variety of folk, much like the kinds that pepper alt radio stations. But with her latest release, Tied To The Moon, which was crafted in a Nova Scotian apartment above a pottery shop off in the Canadian sticks, Sermanni has put her name forward as a premier constructer of story through song.

Sermanni separation from past efforts is established immediately with the grungy blues guitars that kick off the record on 'Run', as she chugs along in her first of several odes to the electrified Americana propagated by the likes of Dylan and Tom Waits. And while the instrumentation is never particularly mindboggling, though the screeching solo on 'Tractor' is rather attention grabbing, the record is always tight and serves as an appropriate backdrop to the storytelling talents of Sermanni.

It is through this skillset that Tied To The Moon makes its finest statements, as Sermanni finds herself channeling others to tell the stories of folks who may not have a LP to record full of their stories. And this truly is where the record thrives. It relishes in the notion that the world is full of people, the ones you pass by every single day, who have extraordinary tales to tell. 'Old Lady's Lament' takes on the perspective of reflective elderly women who are peering back on life through Sermanni's voice and lyrics, which carry a poignancy and weight that seems to defy her youth. Similarly, 'Ferryman' relays the story of a wisdom-laden seaman with an astonishing amount of vulnerability and honesty laid over eerie strumming.

But like Dylan at his best, Sermanni can also sing simply as herself, which often yields the most amazing results. This is how 'Banks Are Broken' becomes Tied To The Moon's most powerful track. In a duet with fellow Scot Colin Macleod that would seem to be built with the kind of raw emotionality that shoots an indie song into the stratosphere of Internet popularity, Sermanni beautifully captures the pain, hurt, denial, grieving and ultimate acceptance that comes with a breakup over the course of just three and a half minutes. It is stirring, passionate piece of music that is surely to be counted among the year's best thus far.

There is no grandstanding on this record. There is no bombast or flamboyance or eccentricity. Instead, there is song crafting of an exceptional variety as Sermanni delivers ten solid songs, the longest just a touch under five minutes, that all have an important story to tell. Whether it be herself, an old lady whose pensive take on life moved her or a ferryman with a grizzled mystery to him, there are always important stories to be told and Tied To The Moon does a damn fine job of making you want to find them.

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