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WHEN RIVERS MEET —LIBERTY (One Road Records)

 

www.whenrivemeet.co.uk

 

When Rivers Meet is British husband and wife team, Grace Bond (vocals, mandolin, violin, viola) and Aaron Bond (vocals, acoustic guitar); and they have one previously EP to their name. Produced by Chris West, and recorded in his own studio in Spain they wrote eight of the eleven tracks. Of the three covers two have a country heritage, “Suspicious Minds” was a big song for Elvis (Presley) but Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter made it into a country song! Most people know of the June Carter Cash – Merle Kilgore song “Ring Of Fire”.  Slowed down a mite the couple give it an interesting and semi-dramatic new spin. Roy Villanis’ “Fingertips” makes up the trio, and it sounds like one they could easily have written as Grace lays down a beautiful base. Her excellent handing of the lyrics is aided by West’s fine production. Back to “Suspicious Minds” the couple make a superb fist of it, the harmonies like with Jennings and Colter it contains no little magic (it is after all a timeless piece of writing by Mark James).    

 

One of the best attributes of When The Rivers Meet is the manner in which they have gone about making the record, a great deal of work and research by them as they keep the music, flowing and varied. Highlights include moody ballad “Greed” and with New Orleans horns the jazz, blues warmed (trombone, trumpet, clarinet) “Can’t Pay My Way” (along with “Papered Trust”) bring something different to the table, and though different like with all the songs the fit could not be better. Busy little number “Sweet Dreams Are Coming” produces some of the album's finest harmonies and with steady rhythm, violin and banjo they sing of good times coming with them at the cross roads of their lives.

 

Final track “Need To Be” is a sweet ballad, and with Grace singing a tender lead it speaks of where the rivers meet, and with fine arrangements and support from her husband it rounds off the record in a sensitive fashion. Of a haunting feel you have “You Blinded Me”, and with Grace on lead vocals the affair is both tender and artful. As already noted no stone goes unturned in their search to provide the lyrics with the correct arrangements, and with their ability to harmonise the album has many pluses. “Papered Trust” has them doing just that, and with Grace impassioned tones arguably better than at any time on the record they have a winner. 

 

                                                            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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