Album number ten is a varied collection of quality tunes.
There’s nine musicians playing around 14 instruments credited on this album and quite a range of styles and but Brace and his band here manage to create a wonderfully distinctive and coherent listen. Recorded in seven different places with the help of producer/engineer/guitarist Jared Bartlett layering brilliantly the various sounds – this is one classy album.
Opening strongly with the positive ‘Everything Will Be’, this wonderfully mixes a crunchy guitar sound with Kevin Cordt’s lovely trumpet and some lush vocals from Laura Tsaggaris. ‘Language’ is a gorgeous, lilting laid back shuffle, augmented by David Henry’s violin, viola and cello; Chris Watling’s sumptuous saxophone; Cordt’s trumpet and even some bodhrán from drummer Martin Lynds. Wonderful stuff.
There’s some warm brass band, New Orleans rhythms on ‘If I Had A Nickel’ with a lovely piano groove mixed in. ‘Next Time’ is another corking song – this time about not seeing someone for long stretches and is a lovely, gentle tune, imbued with some velvet arrangements and brilliant playing. These originals have an up-lifting and well-crafted feel with Brace and his fellow musicians on really top form.
These seven originals are complemented by four deftly chosen covers, including a striking version of John Hartford’s idiosyncratic 1968 composition ‘The Six O’Clock Train And A Girl With Green Eyes’; a deft take on Johnny Mercer’s ‘I’m An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande)’; and a suitably rousing version of McGuinness Flint’s ‘When I’m Dead And Gone’.
This is one of those albums where you play it and all the songs feel memorable and seem like old friends – and instinctively you’ll find yourself playing the whole album again, to fully realise the quality of the musicianship, song-writing and production. No higher praise.
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