Harmony rich indie-folk from Canada with Nashville flavours.
‘Just Beyond the Shine’ is the debut album from Canadian singer-songwriter duo Peach & Quiet, based in Pender Island, British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Life on a small island–only 34 km2–suggests an idyllic existence, and a slower pace of life, and these traits manifest themselves on this nine-track release. Partners in life as well as music, the duo comprises Canadian native Jonny Miller and Welsh-born Heather Read, who moved to Canada aged 4.
Taking the listener back to simpler and more innocent times, the songs–all but one original compositions by the duo–focus on the power of loving relationships, and the musical arrangements sit comfortably with this theme. Harmony vocals set the tone, as on ‘For My Love’, where voices are in unison throughout, as they sing “Trembling heart/lying in the street/you know I’d do anything/for my love”, with a mainly acoustic guitar backing, augmented with melodic lap steel.
The lap steel lends a Nashville flavour to a mostly indie-folk feel of the recordings. Steve Dawson of Henhouse Studios Nashville produced the album and also contributes lead and slide guitar to most tracks. Guitarist Adam Dobres also features on ‘For My Love’, and on ‘Will You’, a duet firmly in the folk genre, with echoes of ‘500 Miles‘ recorded by Peter Paul and Mary, back in the 60’s. Featuring a memorable chorus, they sing “Will you, will you/let this wandering soul come in/will you, will you/bear witness to who I am”.
Stand out track in a strong field is ‘Flowers Grow’ with a contemporary arrangement reminiscent of fellow Canadian Ron Sexsmith, and a soaring chorus harking back to those folk roots, and featuring the vocals of Read, here leaning towards Judy Collins, with a classic lyrical theme given a fresh take “Flowers grow in the snow/wherever my love comes and goes/rivers run to the sea/wherever she’s gone you’ll find me”.
Opening track ‘Empty To Fill’ features Miller on lead vocals, and Byrds style lyrical guitar lines, and a more up-tempo feel, while ‘California Way’, with Read on lead vocals takes us to more of a Nashville sound, with prominent slide guitar.
A contrasting and darker note is struck on ‘Shoreline After a Storm’, a cautionary tale reflecting on the force of the ocean and nature, perhaps a metaphor for the harder times in relationships, while closing track ‘Seven Daffodils’, the only non-original on the album, shares it’s moodier feel.
An excellent debut, offering a varied selection of songs united by those great harmony vocals and fine production.