Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Vast Countenance Elephant Child

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The Vast Countenance is a very pop oriented band, with Beatlesque guitar melodies and light airy harmony vocals. Capturing sounds of music that carries the trouble of the world away as you listen to them. They mix a rock edge to pop sense, with harmonies you could hear on almost any 60’s release. The keyboard adds a rolling sound to the band that keeps the music uplifting and joyous. The band really hits its groove when Johan and Nico join vocals on At Your Feet. Johans voice is solid but shines more when duetting. Nico has a very solid vocal that soars and takes the song along with her. Working together they are pure magic.
Fans of more acoustic rock will be quite happy with this CD. Mixing their soft rock with a bit of folk and harmony vocals their music soars from out of the past into the present day. The sax softly blowing in the background on These Grey Skies adds interesting twist to a haunting familiar sound. If you could turn the tables on the pop charts today and get rid of the 50Cents/Lady Gaga factory music, you would discover the heart of music is not posturing and flamboyant stage acts. No its about the gentle piano sounds that echo in your mind for years and the melodies haunting your memories. Not music you forget about three months after it came out. Musically the band is talented and prove it song after song. Johans vocals are like a lot of singers you have to let your ears adjust to them. I have found that over the years I am drawn to voices that are not typical. He reminds me at different times of Jimmy Dale Gilmore without being over the top. As the group sound hints of artist like Delaney and Bonnie though there is little if any southern influence in this music. Folk influenced pop rock is what you get in pleasing three and four minute doses. Like little happy pills that you only have to hear to make you feel better.
When I listen to a CD and I only skip one song which I did on this disc I know that the band has staying power, not that they will become rich and famous selling music in todays music market. But if you want to spend your money and be listening to the music in ten years then buy The Vast Countenance-Elephant Child CD.
Click the picture to listen to samples and buy the CD.

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Myrna Riquier Momma’s Flowers

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Myrna Riquier Momma’s Flowers

I grew up in North Carolina which is steeped in the traditional sounds of bluegrass and country music. Having lived in New England for a number of years you don’t hear this style of music as often but it still has a faithful following. Myrna D. Riquier is a songwriter who has written some fine bluegrass songs that sound like they could have been written many years ago. Myrna has taken a different route than most songwriters by using Nashville Session musicians to perform her songs. With the nondescript artist playing the music that Myrna has written we hear solid roots bluegrass music that is steeped in the traditional sounds, no new grass here. You would expect to hear The Coon Creek Girls or The Stanley Brothers playing this music to their adoring followers. The use of the Nashville Session players gives the CD a high quality performance that you sometimes don’t get with songwriters who put out their own demos.
Myrna captures the hopes and joys of life and living in her songwriting. The music is more traditional than most artists write these days and reflects that in the overall sound. The music sounds old and has a hauntingly familiar sound of artists like Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe etc. The CD is steeped in traditional bluegrass from many years ago. Lonesome, winsome and fragile, the songs Myrna has written are a joy to listen to and I hope to hear some artist record her songs and make them their own, which is the goal of every songwriter.
Click on the pic to hear samples and buy the cd.

Cabinet-This is Cabinet Set 1

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If you grew up in the hills of NC, SC, VA, TN and Kentucky you hears lots of bands that sound familiar to Cabinet but few can stand up to the quality of Cabinet. This is a top notch sounding band. Much in the vein of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with their bluegrass infused brand of country rock. Using the traditional sounds of the genre Cabinet rocks it up just a little bit more and has less a country feel that perhaps lends itself to a more rock, new grass infused sound. But Cabinet knows it roots like the traditional sounds of bluegrass picking and they simply tear it up when they delve into the bluegrass sounds.
I hear baby boomer’s say all the time there is no good music anymore, which of course is an absurd comment since they never turn off their classic rock stations and search for anything new. Those who grew up on the likes of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dave Bromberg, Doc & Merle Watson should have no problem relating to the sound of Cabinet. With their excellent musicianship this band can entertain the audience with rock and roll, country rock or straight bluegrass and they are not afraid to mix the three genres together.
There are deep roots in this band that stretch deep into the roots of music history and produce a sound that is old yet new. Some fine playing that equals any of the artist I have mentioned in this article. Cabinet makes the music their own by not following the rules as so many bands do. Thinking they can’t stretch a bluegrass number into a sort of psychedelic country rock hybrid and make it work. Cabinet has not such doubts as they pick there way through traditional bluegrass all the while turning and twisting the songs to the beat they walk to. Steeped in tradition, steeped in the roots of music, Cabinet leaves no doubt they can play with the best of them. The vocals have a touch of traditional country ala Johnny Horton, Merle Travis and the like, yet the infusion of up beat music keeps your feet moving no matter if it is a bluegrass number that is a classic jam or if it is a country rock infused number, Cabinet leaves the listener satisfied and wanting more.
After listening to This is Cabinet Set 1 their newest release, I went back into the past and listened to their 2009 release Cabinet. Just by listening one can hear how much this band has matured in last few years, the vocals and the songwriting are more mature, the playing as always is a pure delight. The 2009 release is more bluegrass tradition than the newest release with its country rock infused sound. Both releases are excellent and belong on your shelf or at least on your hard drive.
Click the picture to buy the CD: