“Well I miss you like a synapse/And I love you like a brain.” So begins the twang-cruncher “Brain”, a quirky yarn of misplaced love from songwriter Florence Dore of New York City (by way of Nashville and Cleveland). Before the tune is done, Dore has managed to load it with a myriad of images — road construction, Dear John letters, loaded pistols, and yeah, just for the sake of rhyme, a train — which, despite the song’s brevity (a mere two minutes), tell the backstory, and hint at more. Small wonder; Dore is also a professor of American Literature, her studious pedigree additionally suggested by the disc’s photo of Dore deep in the stacks of a library.
Like a younger Lucinda Williams, Dore lets economy be her guide, whether sketching out subtleties of a Tennessee family’s history in the hillbilly ballad “No Nashville”, or detailing blown bank accounts and blown dreams in the lovely dulcitar/organ-spackled midtempo waltz “Early World”. Which would all be for naught, of course, if Dore didn’t have the throat and musicianship to back it all up. But she does, from her part-honey, part-trembly vocals (Lucinda meets Dolly) to her crack band which features Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken, bassist Scott Yoder and guitarist Chris Erickson. Not to mention producer Eric Ambel who, per protocol, adds plenty of guitar and keyboards in just the right places.
Together, the outfit locks into a seamless succession of grooves, with additional standouts including “Framed” (a song Mary Chapin Carpenter really oughtta cover), and the Steve Earle-like title track. In Professor Dore, the alt-country world has a brainy, impressive newcomer.