Singer/songwriter Nancy T. Michaels issued an obscure album -- a very obscure one, considering it came out on Warner Bros. -- in 1969. Writing all but two of the songs and singing in a high, fluttery voice, her compositions were in some respects similar to those of Joni Mitchell's, but without half the level of melodicism, sardonicism, wit, imagination, quirkiness, guitar excellence, thoughtful arrangements -- well, you name it -- Michaels couldn't remotely compare in any category. There were also some similarities to the early work of Linda Ronstadt (particularly in the laid-back country/folk-rock arrangements) and Mary McCaslin (in the high, country-folk-inflected singing). Again, though, Michaels was not nearly as good at what she did as Ronstadt and McCaslin were at what they did.

Nancy T. Michaels is a peculiar record, not so much in that it sounds odd (it doesn't) as in that it has one foot in the acoustic-oriented folk-rock of the tail-end of the 1960s, and another in the more subdued, mellow singer/songwriter sound of the 1970s. Michaels got lots of help from session players, including David Grisman on mandolin on a couple of songs and, on one track, Martin Mull on guitar -- presumably, the same Martin Mull who became a famous comedian in the 1970s. There were also some subdued, reasonably thoughtful strings, woodwinds, and French horn. But the conscientiousness of the effort couldn't overcome the ordinariness of the material, and Michaels did not become well-known on even a cult level. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi