The third album from folk artist Al Rose is an intricate knot work of metaphors and lyrical turns of phrase. He paints each song with such depth sometimes the result leaves the listener a bit acrophobic. Other times he knows just the right point in which to ground us with pointedly simplistic lines such as the finishing words of “Metaphor” where he reminds us that “sometimes a scar is just a scar.” He balances the complexity of his verse with unadorned melodies and the delivery of a spoken word artist.

Pigeon’s Throat is beautifully recorded, each guitar string rings warm and every instrument fits closely within each song’s texture. Subtle backing instruments like the organ in “Lighter Than a Feather” make their presence known only by feel and depth. Rose gathers an impressive collection of musicians for this album. Backing vocalist Laura Blye’s voice is so strong on “Roots and Vines” I had to check to make sure it was not a cameo by Ani DiFranco that I was hearing belting out those soulful notes.

The standout track of this album has to be the spooky “Polish My Car” with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Manhattan Transfer on a very dark day. Here Rose drifts into jazz influenced rhythms with gorgeous fretless bass swells and offbeat percussion. I would love to see Rose continue to explore this kind of composition, focusing on his gift for harmony, texture and contrasting instrumentation.

— Ellen Stenard,, February 28, 2000