The Lovely & Talented

As a self-described "singer/songwriter/guitarist/teacher/activist," JT Nolan takes a more-is-more approach to life, and his music follows suit. No wonder the new CD by the Lovely & Talented can seem a bit unwieldy at times. More often than not, however, Nolan is able to keep his ambitions in balance.

The Talented team features a wide variety of helpers, including DeVotchKa violinist/accordionist Tom Hagerman and onetime Zuba saxophonist Ben Senterfit — and that's fortunate, since Nolan's vision is so eclectic. He's at his best on "Maria," a windswept Western air supplemented by robust trumpeting likely contributed by Filthy Children brass man Steve Illich. And if "Mean Talk" is too much of a Beck rip to stand on its own (despite lyrics by way of Woody Guthrie), "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave" will make most listeners wish it had stuck around even longer.

There are enough intriguing moments scattered throughout the album to make searching for them feel worthwhile.


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