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ORDINARY ELEPHANT —BEFORE I GO (Self-Released)

www.ordinaryelephant.net

Who are Ordinary Elephant? Well, they are a duo. Made up of Peter Damore and his wife Crystal Hariu-Danmore, and though raised a state apart (Crystal in Louisiana and Pete in Texas) they are a like-minded couple. A real duo. With them containing a beautiful ear for organic nurtured music, I imagine some will claim (and rightly so) that here is a partnership formed in heaven. They have been playing together since 2011, and made their debut recording in 2013 via Dusty Words & Cardboard Boxes.   

Greatly influenced by the musical nous, and playing style of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings the duo craft studious and simple beautifully arranged material. The kind that sneaks its way into your heart. Apart from Peter’s banjo and harmony vocals (and on one track, “Leaving Kerrville” acoustic guitar) backing Crystal’s splendid lead vocals you have Jon Gagan, upright bass, Jason Crosby, fiddle, piano; Sharon Gilchrist, Mandolin; Jono Mason tenor guitar on “Best Of You” plus David Berkeley (vocals) on “The Things he Saw” and Mark Clark (brushes) on “Highway 71”. 

Both are singer-songwriters – their songs weave beautiful vignettes, and with banjo ever in evidence, and the lyrics flipping from a reflective celebratory feel to shrewd observations of life around them. Some are of themselves, as they dig deep within to look at each other’s loves, fears, plus inspirational figures in their respective lives. Some of whom they have known all their lives; along with those they have made only fleeting contact, or have read about, or as in the case of fiddle and banjo warmed “Before I Go”, the lyrics alone of Townes Van Zandt were been enough to prompt a line or two (or a full song even as connection was made). Staying with great Texas singer-songwriters, Guy Clark gains a mention in the tasty liner notes (by the artists themselves) in regards of how ‘some days the song writes you’, and with their song “Can I Count On You? as beautiful a composition, and vocal piece of its genre you are likely to come across a lofty benchmark is set. It and “Another Day” (among others) remind me of California-based singer-songwriter Amanda Cross. Such is the clarity and potent spare feel, the imagery rich in honest emotions of the soul. Wrapped in sympathetic banjo, fiddle and piano it warms the heart that music like this is still performed. 

Country, bluegrass and folk Americana are all embraced, as the duo speak of the Texas’ landscape, the aftermath of the wildfires on 2011 (“Highway 71”) and of “Leaving Kerrville”. This as they speak of how they were about to turn in to a convenience store, to say goodbye to three friends they had a brush with death. “Lady In The Elevator” likewise chugs along, and just as a sameness starts to creeps in “Who I Am” lifts the tempo and mood. Not least among the musical support one the track is that of fiddle (and banjo) that nails it. Superb. It sounds more like California folk country than anything else on the record, and not music termed as Americana

Back to the slow measured poetic beauty, “Evangeline” speaks of love, departing etc as they perform a song inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s story about her (Evangeline) and her lost love, Gabriel. Here the couple recognise how Gabriel lost his love too. Edging on through the album Alzheimer’s disease is the subject spoken of on “The Things He Saw”. Title-track “Before I Go” possesses an almost regal feel, as it paints a tapestry steeped in calming qualities. The duo’s understated music has an abundance of riches in the department and with the record containing 13 tracks nothing has been spared in a bid to service the listener, fully and showcase their worth.        

Now we need Ordinary Elephant need to get themselves over here, tomorrow wouldn’t be a day too soon. 

        Maurice Hope       

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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