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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

USU student Libbie Linton makes recording debut with seamless vocals, sweet guitar

By Aaron Falk

May 5, 2006 | There's nothing rock star about Libbie Linton.

The 19-year-old USU sophomore writes most of her songs in between chapters of her biological engineering text books. "I'll need a break from studying, so I'll write and it flows a lot better," she says.

And then there's the stage fright. Linton compiled plenty of half-finished songs over the course of four years before a good friend pushed her onstage about eight months ago, forcing her to get past her stage fright. Since then, Linton has become a local favorite in some circles, filling cafes and house parties with perfect guitar melodies and seamless vocals.

In between shows and classes at Utah State University, Linton has found time to release her debut album.

The seven songs on The Shackleton EP, were recorded inside the foam-lined walls of Linton's storage room with a couple of microphones and a personal computer.

"I had this old storage room full of crap," she said. "Last fall, I cleaned it out, painted it and put up some cheap foam. It's just me, a guitar and a couple of mics. I pressed record myself."

But don't let that deter you from this disc. The simple and lo-fi approach works to Linton's advantage, adding emphasis to her intricate picking patterns and distinct voice.

Linton wears some of her influences on her sleeve, drawing comparisons to Sub Pop artist Iron and Wine, but Linton's vocals give the EP its own sound.

At only 19 years of age, Linton's lyrics are surprisingly smart (she's a biological engineering major), but sometimes muddled - the album's only real downfall. The songs are as slow and smooth as the life in her hometown, Logan.

The album's bookends are its best songs, starting powerfully with What's Left and fading out beautifully with TR. In between, the five solid tracks are icing on the cake.

While it may be unfair to compare Linton's debut EP to indie-label releases, it just wouldn't be right to compare it to the local releases it stands head and shoulders above.

Linton said she plans on playing a number of shows in the Logan area over the summer and may even schedule some performances outside of Cache Valley.

"I'll probably go on some trips with friends and schedule a few shows," she said. "I'll nudge it, but I won't push [a music career] . . . Although it would be nice to do something other than biological engineering."

Check out Libbie Linton's music for free at www.libbielinton.com or at www.myspace.com/libbielinton.

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