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The Comforters
Big Timbre Records

The Comforters, comprised of lead singer Pia Robbins and her husband/guitarist/producer Jason Robbins, have released a roots rock/country folk debut record Transplants on the couple's own indie label Big Timbre Records. The album is dedicated to Grandma Ruth, and though the liner notes do not explain who she is, the tribute leads you to wonder if any of the songs reveal anything about her. The album, which was recorded in the couple's own studio, Big Timbre Studio, is very well produced. Every nuance and jutting segment adds texture to the songs from the rustic tones of a harmonica to the bucolic twangs of a steel guitar. The bluegrass projections are reminiscent of artists like Adrienne Young and Will Kimbrough, and Pia's vocals have a gentle timbre reflective of Emmylou Harris and Allison Moorer. The Comforters' album juxtaposes Americana with alternative pop similar to Essex Green and The Thrills and concentrates on the song's melodic folk substance.

Americana melodies like "Mia," "Young Republicans," and "I Want To Rock" have mellow country folk tempos and roots rock acoustics while the vocals float above the music like a weightless celestial body. The dark guitar tones on tracks like "The Call" and "Driving Off The Edge Of The World" have a country western tint and roundhouse drum patterns circuiting the queues along the movements. These songs have a heavy-footed sonorousness similar to Johnny Cash and feel scenic and pensive with Cash's style, as if hitching a ride on a freight train and watching the world go by through an open door. The bluegrass musings of "Lucy" and "Reasons" are mild and soulful as the verses come in drifts like the ocean tide coming up to shore. The easy pace is likened to Robinella and Shelby Lynne and has a feminine touch in its gentle flux.

The bluesy folk mood of "Saturday Nights" is lounging with intervals of rustic harmonica segments. The country tinged rhythms of "Lazy Sundays" compliments the steel guitar twangs and acoustic guitar twirls that halo the lyrics: "Been hanging around this house/ Been shooting off my mouth/ Sleeping/ Dreaming/ Just keeping to myself/ Ain't this the life/ Long live lazy Sundays/ On the porch with the radio on." The lyrics are introspective, describing situations about alienation and depression, sulking in their emotional depths and providing insight into their chasms and solace for their grief.

The Comforters' debut album is very well produced creating expressive textures that compliment Pia's vocals. The songs are more than campfire tunes or jug band numbers. They have alternative pop collateral blending elements of Americana, roots rock, bluegrass, and country folk patinas. For a couple from Eugene, Oregon, The Comforters' music has wide appeal and is just pleasant to listen to on a lazy Sunday in any country.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Mia
2. Lazy Sundays
3. Saturday Nights
4. The Call
5. I Want To Rock
6. Young Republicans
7. Lucy
8. Driving Off The Edge Of The Word
9. Reasons

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