With a personal and often autobiographical honesty, yet with enough universal imagery to broaden the emotional impact, Perry fits neatly into no particular genre but has an immediate appeal. Musically, her song craft encompasses folk, country and pop, and gray areas between, to suit the spin of a particular song. Such strengths helped earn Perry her first notable success when Tom Russell covered the song "Yosemite" in 2003, with Nanci Griffith. It was the winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, among other songwriting awards. Of the song--and it's creator--Russell said: "It slapped my heart around like a good song should...watch out for Rain Perry. She writes with her heart, and she'll blindside you with her art."
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