After Sherry Rich finished up fronting the 1980s Australian all-girl garage rock band, Girl Monster, she skipped across the pond to the US in the 90s and fell back into her country music upbringing.

Dakota Avenue is an old album, but due to its drawling and heartfelt country sounds, one can barely tell. It was produced over a decade ago in Chicago with the late Jay Bennett (of former Wilco fame), however, it wasn’t until Bennett died in 2009 that Rich decided it was time to dust it off and bring it to the world’s attention.

The album is roots-pop in nature, tapping into Rich’s true feelings, as if she is laying her heart, soul, and all of her emotional baggage on the table. “Pandora Mink” is an earnest and warm track about the storyteller’s daughter, and “Hopeful Heart” a stringy track that is somewhat soothing despite its rather depressing lyrics, “between happy hour and closing time.”

At times though, the album becomes slightly uninteresting. Rich’s voice in each song individually – a low and easy drawl – is nothing but pure talent in isolation, but across the album’s entirety, her voice has the tendency to become monotonous, and frankly, boring.

In the same respect, the instrumentals, again, full of enormous talent,  seem to jump back to the same roots-styled tunes – it’s almost as if one swears that they have heard the same song on the album already.

Despite this heavy criticism, if you are a true roots-pop historian, then this is absolutely the album for you.

– Tara Emily Whitehead