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I’M WITH HER —IN THE DARK (Rounder Records)


www.rounder-records.com

I’m With Her is a trio made up of multi-instrumentalist Sara Jarosz (mandolin,banjo), Sara Watkins (one of the founding members of Nickel Creek  plays ukulele and fiddle) and Aoife O’Donovan (a founder member of Crooked Still performs piano and synthesiser). The girls combine superbly as seamless harmony vocals join the lead, that’s shared (as are the songwriting credits apart from Gillian Welch’s “Hundred Miles”) on this much anticipate project from the girls.Recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in Bath (UK) they share production duties with Ethan Johns and recorded the bulk of the record live.  

All as stated have successful careers going elsewhere; and undoubtedly proved themselves. In The Dark is more low key and artistically driven than anticipated; opening track “See You Around” sets the tempo, and with it followed by the mandolin and fiddle etched harmony vocal loaded “Game To Lose” the mood becomes darker still. As the music gets down and dirty so to speak. 

“Ain’t That Fine” holds strong throughout as the girls keep it tight and gritty, plus with it possessing dobro there is a freer feel to the music (pure Americana as folk, country, bluegrass etc are utilised). Next up you have the spare delicate and wistful “Pangaea”, plus pleasing instrumental “Waitsfield".  

While I wasn’t totally sure what to expect I did expect a few more fireworks! “I-89” threatens to lift the tempo and place a little more urgency into the record, but sadly it is more of the same. Nice though the harmonies are there is a need for one of them to stand up and deliver lead vocals to make up the listener prick up their ears, same could be said for wistful ballad “Ryland (Under The Appletree)”. But all is not lost.  For they do serve up a genuine treat on rustic steeped, banjo led “Overland”, and with “Crescent City” offering a stronger emotional feel much good is present. It might have taken a little while but the girls finally got to open up and entertain. So much so i can't wait to hear them perform live, and possibly another record! 

As for Welch’s “Hundred Miles”(and yet to be covered) the track opens a cappella fashion as the girls’ breathy tones speak of how it is a hundred miles to get back to you and hundred years and, maybe two. Dashed with organ, fiddle and banjo the wistful affair is loaded in grace, and rare beauty as they are found at their best in more ways than one.  

            Maurice Hope 

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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