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Moira Smiley & VOCO: Laughter Out of Tears (Whim Records)

A feast of beautiful women’s voices is served in the latest release by Moira Smiley & VOCO. With the inspiration of polyphonic chorales such as the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, Smiley began as a Balkan song collector and has only widened her grasp. On Laughter Out of Tears, Smiley and company bring virtuosic vocals to traditional songs from Sweden and Appalachia as well as Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson and even Gillian Welch. A few originals complete the line-up, accompanied by sparsely brushed drums and stringed instruments.