Being a homespun artist from the hinterland – in this case,
rural Georgia – and
relocating to the big city – Brooklyn,
New York – Mary Bragg could have
been forgiven for feeling somewhat daunted by the wealth of competition,
particularly as pitted against today’s rather large contingent of equally
ambitious singer/songwriter types.
Fortunately, her sophomore set belies any suggestion she may not be up
to the task.
Assured yet vulnerable, Bragg betrays a variety of emotions
that give due diligence to any preset standard. She’s clearly adept in full
folk mode – the pretty opening track “Let Me ” and the subdued yet surprisingly
snappy “I Will Love You” being the best examples – but its her effortless shift
from regret and remorse to songs of celebration that reflect her abilities
best. Whether relaying the yearning
melancholia of “Learn to Love Again” and “Give That Girl,” the swagger and sway
of “Sweet Skin” or the all-out effusive joy of the descriptively titled “So
Happy,” Bragg’s powers of expression continually come to the fore. Ultimately, Sugar may not be as sweetly caressing as its title implies, but it
does give Bragg plenty that she can boast about.
Standout Tracks: “Let Me,” “I Will Love You” LEE ZIMMERMAN