©2004 Catie Curtis
Curtis's fifth album is her most musically engaging and her most lyrically risky; despite the sunny, acoustic backdrops, these songs are fairly dark, frequently skeptical portraits of private and public doubt. She pits the deep resilience of humans against life's equally deep violence, stares down love's deceptions, and questions the easy answers of faith, as well as the powers of her own imagination. The angels of "Deliver Me" are broken and covered in mud; the girl in "Red Light" watches a carnival town, as well as her innocence, burn. "I lost my one way ticket home, I'm at a busted telephone," Curtis sings on "Hold On," her finest breakup song, "And I got no way to show you you're not alone." In the end, Curtis's honesty and steadily maturing voice are the consolations that last. --Roy Kasten
Produced by Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow), Tom Dube (Richard Thompson) and Curtis herself, "Dreaming in Romance Languages" is crafted around the dual guitars of Curtis and Kevin Barry (Paula Cole, Holly Cole). "We built the band arrangements around two acoustic guitars," says Curtis, "and doing so helped bring a real focus to the record." Julie Wolf, heartbeat of multiple recordings and tours by Ani DiFranco and Laura Love (herself a character in "Saint Lucy") anchors the groove with infectious keyboard textures. The propulsive mandolin of Jimmy Ryan - he of seminal alt.country heroes Blood Oranges - provides gorgeous counterpoint. Backing vocals are by Boston's best: Mark Erelli, Deb Talan, Jennifer Kimball and Kris Delmhorst.