An album of two halves – quite literally.
‘The Land In Between‘ is the debut album from Brooklyn-based Moon Shine, more usually known as Angie Glasscock, and its often autobiographical songs veer between two camps – a more Country influenced side and a soulful side that leans into the classic STAX sound of twanging guitar and blasting horns. The advantages of this mixture is never made more clearly than on the celebratory opener which tells of Glasscock’s childhood literally travelling between two camps – that of her father in Tennessee and her mother’s home in California. It could so easily be a song that dwells on the hardships of such a separation, but Glasscock embraces it gleefully: “Back and forth we’re travelling between two extremes / LA is endless bright lights as far as you can see / Nashville is green the air’s so thick it’s hard to breath / Staring out the window / at the land in between between California and Tennessee /…/ Back and forth ” With the horns, soulful organ and Steve Cropper-esque guitar work (it’s actually producer Teddy Kumpel who has played with Rickie Lee Jones amongst others) this is a really life-affirming opener and an invitation into a world which embraces all of the opportunities that life offers up.
It’s straight into the never more country of ‘Ain’t Broken Hearted‘ which tells a soon-to-be ex-lover where to get off with their endless excuses “Say you got a sick mother – that may be true / When you come round smelling like you do – that ain’t your mother I’m smelling on you.” We’re back to a funky soulfulness for ‘Ether of My Mind‘ which drifts into a laid-back cosmic-country groove. Amongst Glasscock’s songs there’s a single cover of Lucinda Williams’ ‘Right On Time‘ which is reshaped as a very intimate and slow ballad. ‘Songbird of the Mountains‘ is a richly warm fiddle and banjo led song that, with an “old-timey” feel leans on more rural roots rather than modern commercial country.
The musical variations across the album’s songs are to its advantage – Angie Glasscock has a supple vocal which can be weathered and worn on a plaintive acoustic country song or upbeat and sassy on a song like ‘Better A Pearl‘ which looks towards the future with determination. As does Glasscock herself – the next Moon Shine album is already being planned and promises to have more storytelling and less autobiography.