A dozen years back, when North Dakota native Celeste Krenz arrived on the Denver music scene, she was categorized as a country artist, and rightly so. But even though she now makes her home in Nashville, her latest music has relatively little in common with the twangy genre so closely associated with that Tennessee town. Acoustic, a new self-released platter available at CelesteKrenz.com, features spare arrangements built almost entirely upon unplugged guitars handled by the likes of Bob Tyler, Krenz's personal and creative partner, who will open her Swallow Hill show with help from Jon Vezner. In this context, the production of "If I Don't Leave Now," which includes a tambourine, qualifies as downright lavish. As for material by tunesmiths such as Paul Simon ("American Tune"), Jesse Winchester ("I Wave Bye Bye") and Krenz herself ("Dorothy's Lullaby"), it hews closely to the folk tradition, as do Krenz's sensitive, gently crooned vocals. Even so, the occasional country touch surfaces -- notably, during the chorus of "Wild for You Baby," when Krenz opens up her throat and shows that she can still belt with the best of 'em. Guess you can't entirely take the country out of the girl.
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