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Florence Dore | Perfect City (Miss Ruby)
It has taken Florence Dore more than a decade to finally get around to recording her debut album. She has not been idle though, having played in a number of bands, while calling Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland and New York her home during that time frame. Since leaving her native Nashville, Florence Dore's intermittent musical travelogue could easily be construed as tantamount to wanderlust. That apparent wanderlust though, stems not from the eternal pursuit of her muse, but from attempting to further her academic career, something she has now achieved with distinction. Having now settled, at least for the time being, in New York she is a professor of American literature at New York University. From the evidence provided on 'Perfect City' it's clear that more than a little musical inspiration was also gained en route. Sassy and tough, although balanced by a little vulnerability, 'Perfect City' is an excellent album, let alone an excellent debut. Florence Dore's lyrics are literate and cerebral, literally so on Brain, but never pretentious. She has an engaging bittersweet voice, stylistically reminiscent of a cross between Cheri Knight and Laura Cantrell. The album is produced by Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel who has done similarly sterling work in the past for both the Blood Oranges and the Bottle Rockets amongst many others, as well as a recent turn as Steve Earle's guitarist. Further consolidated by a top drawer band that features Dennis Diken (Smithereens) on drums, Chris Erikson (Matt Keating) on guitar and Scott Yoder (Tandy, Star City) on bass, this could be the start of something special for Florence Dore or at least a viable alternative should she ever tire of the halls of academia. Having recently learned that the track Christmas was once covered by the Posies, a fact I certainly consider to be an endorsement of Florence Dore's talent, I sincerely hope that she manages to devote more time to her music in future than she has in the past. It would be a pity indeed to have to wait another ten years for a sequel, even if it was only half as strong as 'Perfect City'.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002