Like the singer Gillian Welch, Austinite DAO STROM’s stark and lonesome music seems to hail from the Appalachians, though both she and Welch were raised in California. The similarities end there, however. Strom was born in Saigon (she fled the country in her mother’s arms) and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an author. Her first novel, Grass Roof, Tin Roof, was published in 2003; now comes her modest and intriguing debut CD, SEND ME HOME (self-released; available at cdbaby.com). Strom’s earnest voice carries songs that often have little else going on instrumentally. The tunes are imbued with a country sorrow, maybe a bit too much of it. There are some really enjoyable moments here, even if the cumulative effect of so many drowned babies and broken hearts eventually takes it toll.
From the February 2005 Issue Subscribe