Charlie Marie at Rhythm and Roots Festival

The bass player walks when walking is needed. The lyrics don’t mess around, even when they’re describing the act of messing around. And the singer, occasional waitress, ex-Amazon clock-puncher and unassuming country thrush Charlie Marie, lets her voice catch in her throat exactly when the scene she’s describing gets a tad overwhelming. And, as we know from life in general and country music in particular, things get a tad overwhelming more and more these days. Don’t worry, Marie ain’t a wilting flower who only delivers glum valentines in a succession of heartache tunes. In a key song from her Ramble On album, she calls her good-looking, over-controlling, soon-to-be-ex an “asshole” while leveling-up in the self-respect department. “What a pity,” she says shrugging off their demise, “baby I’m a tough kitty.” Strong records are littered with those kind of memorable moments, and Ramble On, Marie’s debut if you don’t count a couple here-and-gone EPs a few years ago, has its fair share. The Rhode Island-based singer came up on Patsy Cline, tried her hand at college classes and open-mic nights in Music City, and has honed a yen for classic country without abandoning modern pop instincts. Several Ramble On songs are catchy as hell. Up-tempo tunes are a forte. Everything clicks when Marie gallops through bouncy swingers like “Bad Seed” and “Ramble On Man.” And she sounds quite comfy reminding us that a little backbeat never hurt a honkytonk aura; between the liquid steel guitar and saucy Wurlitzer on “40 Miles To Memphis,” this Ocean State cowgirl proves that she shines with the oomph of a band behind her. Indie country records are hit or miss, and when something sticks out, it’s wise to shout about it. Charlie Marie has made a great little album, one that not only boasts a song called “Heard It Through the Red Wine” (yes, the depth of the performance equals the wit of the title as she explains how merlot can be a truth serum), but one that makes you want to hit the replay button as soon as you’re done with it. Twang now has a hot cup of Dunkin in its hand.

Charlie Marie plays the Rhythm Stage at the Rhythm and Roots Festival on Saturday at 1 pm

Charlie Marie

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