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LESLEY KERNOCHAN —A CALM SUN (Self-Released)

 

www.lesleykernochan.com

 

 

California singer-songwriter, Lesley Kernochan has an amazing set of players accompany her on her latest album A Calm Sun. On combining elements of folk, country and pop her beautiful tones weave one seamless tapestry after another. I also appreciated the fine packaging, and thought that went into it.  

 

Kernochan kicks off the album in impressive fashion. As exquisite folk, country fun lined opener “Les Petis Mondes Sont Partout” is followed by the Louisiana hinted, “Country In The City” (hints of Tara Nevins – Donna The Buffalo) and the adventure dotted, travel spurred “Hurricane Eye”. With her sprightly tunes warmed in layers of pedal steel, dobro, organ, acoustic, electric guitar (plus mandolin, Ukelele, drums, percussion and harmony vocals) the music is most pleasing to the ear.

 

Among those playing you have Dean Parks, Christopher Bruce, Jeff Babko, Dan Lutz, Aaron Sterling, Ben Peeler, Alisa Rose and harmony vocalists Tom Rhodes and Robert Rex Waller Jr. It is a wonderful sound. After the above tunes Kernochan eases into a mellow frame of mind, hence the music becomes more artful, and less hooky. A well timed lift in the tempo, and mood comes via “Blown Away”, peppered with wonderful lyrics it brings something special to the album. Whilst with wistful searching lyrics “The Universe” speaks of her own feelings, and it is pretty too. Some of Kernochan's work needs to be heard in quiet, like “The Universe” with its tranquil tones. Picking up (once again) the rhythm section coupled with Dobro ensure “Love Is A Verb” throws off any shackles that may have thoughts of restricting her music. “The Chocolate Tree” is a reflective worked song that speaks of aspects bittersweet; and the music on possessing shades of a bluesy darkness coupled with more airy segments suits perfectly.

 

In total the album contains a generous 14-tracks, and with Peeler contributing sensitive pedal steel “Wherever I Go” helps weave an interesting story as she answers the call of the city. Some songs though well written and the backing sympathetic it takes something different as with “Old Fisherman’s Song” to lift the mood of the album. When it comes to spare, stark beauty “A Face In The Mountain” would take some beating, such being the deft accompaniment and purity of her gentle tones, other than a couple of more gentle and artful tunes, but even those tracks have a habit of sneaking up  on you. Stumbling across Lesley Kernochan's music has been for me a fantastic discovery! 

 

                                                           Maurice Hope     

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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