On Mystery Prize, Loebe plays acoustic guitar, and her band includes stand-up bass, percussion, pedal steel, and one musician who can add tenor guitar, harmonica, trumpet, or mandolin. The bass player also adds second guitar and keyboards. Then add guest musicians who contribute accordion, backing vocals, a horn section and a trio of strings. Here you have a recipe either for a sonic mess, or a rich musical pallet. In painting, you would either get an ugly brown blob or Starry Night. This one is closer to Starry Night. Loebe knows just what to do with each musical color; she knows which part of her canvas needs which musical color. But more important, Loebe knows when to leave things out. This is a rare musical gift, requiring confidence and the ability to trust ones instincts.
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