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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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May 2018

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