?Redtail,? the second album from Jodie-Jean Marston, is a gorgeous slab of dusted southwestern twang pop that finds the songstress further honing her considerable talents in a song cycle of love, loss and rural redemption. Since her modestly assured debut, ?Mountain is a Mountain? for the Secret Eye label, Marston has relocated to the Southwest and forged a partnership with Ned Oldham (as in Will?s brother; the main man in Anomoanon) and also signed to Oldham?s Box Tree Records.
?Redtail? was recorded in Baltimore by Ned Oldham and in Dixon, NM by Marston, where she now hangs her hat most of the time. These songs are folky, almost country pop, lent a faint glimmer from the hazy desert environs that likely influenced their creation. The production is no frills, but still ever so baked, with lazy arrangements that slowly spread out across the listening space and linger for a while. Palace Brothers is a reference point, and Ned?s Anomoanon. I also can?t help but think of the Renderers (who Will Oldham has covered and toured with); they exhibit a similar rustic desolation, but throw on a lot more distortion.
Marston?s resonant vocal is given considerable weight by Oldham and the rest of her band?s backing harmonies. There?s even a very well placed effect to offer a further sense of delirium. On tracks like the opener ?Hands of the Prairie,? opened up with a spooky wandering blues lead, ?Wilderness? and the deeply moving ?Porchlights,? Marston reaches the most divine heights of introspective Americana and manages to brush up against few other genres in the process. These are songs about the living on the prairie, in the margins, and other subjects close to Marston?s heart. The results are timeless and contemporary in the same breath. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (19 September, 2005)