Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Little Fugitive
Signature Sounds

Rock's greatest songwriter-housewife considers middle age, dead punks

Amy Rigby was never young--not as an artist. After two obscure group stints, she emerged in 1996 with Diary of a Mod Housewife, which chronicled a 37-year-old's failing marriage, and that's her baseline. Rigby brings to the theme of courtship after 40 the freshness ordinary songwriters bring to teen lust. Her voice sturdy down to its country quaver and her musicians adepts of folk-rock backup, she sings about her new husband's ex as no one ever has and all the ways he loves her as if she still thinks she deserves to crack Nashville's money machine. She does, too--lyric for lyric, tune for tune, she's one of the great unknown American songwriters. She even gets away with describing her dreams. "Dancing With Joey Ramone," that one's called.

Blender, Oct. 2005