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With three Red House heavyweights all on one-album I realised things aren’t so bad afterall. Economy and job loss problems can be forgotten for a while. But, much as I enjoy Eliza, John and Lucy (who I must admit hasn’t been firing on all cylinders recently as her music hasn’t gone on like I had anticipated. More like her talent has simply, levelled out) on the album it does not match an album by either of them. Thought I had better get that out of the way first; although in these tough times a slice of cake beats non at all.
The blow is superbly cushioned for this collection is loaded with beautiful songs, and with them performed in a gentle and on occasions melancholy manner the listener is in for a rare treat. As finely spun vocal harmonies support from the above assist one another plus, unlike some albums of the ilk those taking part are already closely bonded and it isn’t some random association but one of true kinship.
Gorka like Gilkyson for me is a massive talent and the more I listen to this album my fondness for Kaplansky has been rekindled for she is back once again doing the simple things. Not over produced her vocals are sharp as on her version of Gorka’s ‘Blue Chalk’ (that had previously been covered in a mighty fashion by Irish-born songbird, Maura O’Connell and is a regular on my player in the car as i drive to work and gigs) that like with her chilling version of traditional mountain ballad ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ (aided by the inspired playing of Duke Levine) and old favourite ‘Scorpion’ her music gains a place close to my heart. Likewise, the piano supported ‘Sanctuary’ (Gilkyson) and harmony vocal (Gorka and Gilkyson) warmed stirred me greatly.
As for Gorka he pins his name up on the notice board in bold letters via the shuffling, guitar scuffed ‘Coshieville’, the pulsating jaw dropping banjo plied new song of his ‘If These Walls Could Talk’. What a great songwriter and performer this man is on occasions like this. There is a special aura to everything he does plus, there is no doubt in my mind he was a great inspiration to Eliza and Lucy making the record. Meanwhile Gilkyson scores heavily via ‘Walk Away From Love’ that speaks of how she has got a foolish heart and is not an idiot and still believes in love. What a beautiful rhythm and general effortless flow the song has as fiddle (Warren Hood) and Dobro (Mike Hardwick) join the lady. She also does a fine version of John’s gentle ode ‘Forget To Breathe’. What a fine taster album as three Americana greats are heard and how proud Red House must be of each of them!
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