The old saying goes something along the lines of "amazing debut
record followed by the sophomore slump". This is simply not the
case with The Greencards. Following the amazing depth and musical
character of their debut Movin' On was going to be a very tall
order, but with Weather And Water, The Greencards have really
pulled it off well. The closest comparative I can muster is to Alison
Krauss and Union Station; this record is full of brilliant instrumentation
and crystal clear vocals that all support some of the finest songs
I've come across in years. I would be remiss to say that The Greencards
are similar to Nickel Creek - where Nickel Creek has the instrumental
virtuosity of Chris Thile that supports some very good songs,
the songs of The Greencards are stronger and more directly heartfelt,
while relying on nothing instrumentally as flashy and showboaty as
Thile seems to favor. Instead the players, Carol Young (lead
vocals and bass guitar), Kym Warner (mandolin) and Eoman
McLaughlin (fiddle), rely on steadfast musicianship to buoy their
but fear not, friends of old school bluegrass!
Tracks like the instrumental "Almost Home" are pure and
clean, wonderful beds of mandolin rhythm that float lithely below
golden fiddle runs and guitar picking.
The Greencards cover a lot of ground on Weather And Water
beginning with the amazing "The Ghost Of Who We Were". Listening
to this song, it's easy to think Alison Krauss, as Carol's voice has
that same effortless beauty to it, and the music a similar easy groove.
The shanty feel of "Weather And Water" is classic bluegrass
splendor, with it's excellent guitar solo and brilliant vocal harmonies.
"Time" is the perfect lead single, and has been making waves
at Americana radio, and rightly so; the track is down-home perfection,
moving and soulful vocals offset a moody and reflective musical arrangement.
The instrumental "Marty's Kitchen" is fast paced and perfectly
played, evoking memories of hootenannies and youthful exuberance.
Carol's voice shines nowhere more than on the hauntingly beautiful
"What You Are". Instruments take a dirgeful backseat to
the simple power and grace of her voice, and the heavy emotions that
she is so completely able to convey. The blissful "The House
On Vine Street" closes out the album with a nice mid- to slow-tempo
bluegrass shakedown, making the album seem like a complete journey
with highs and lows, but settling right into a peaceful stride where
it all sits prettily and smart.
And if Robert Earl Keen somehow hasn't heard this band's
version of his amazing song "Love's A Word I Never Throw Around",
then he needs to grab that first CD as soon as possible
for that matter, so do you. It was kind of like hearing The Cowboy
Junkies do "Sweet Jane" for the first time and thinking
how Lou Reed probably felt about it.
1. The Ghost Of Who We Were
2. Weather And Water
3. Almost Home
4. Like A Melody
6. Long Way Down
7. Marty's Kitchen
8. What You Are
9. Don't Want Forever
10. The Ballad Of Kitty Brown
11. Bordered On A Breakdown
12. The House On Vine Street
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