Red Tail Ring are Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp and ‘Fall Away Blues’ is their fourth full length album. Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, this duo has produced a stripped back album with gorgeous vocals and harmonies accompanied only by fiddle, banjo and guitar. With a mix of traditional and self-penned songs this feels like a fusion of folk meets blues on a laid-back night in after a hard week at work when all you want to do is turn the lights off with a glass of malt in hand.
Maybe the album title is the clue but the blues weaves themselves throughout this music. ‘Gibson Town’ reinterprets a Muddy Waters melody as it tells the story of yet another mass shooting USA style but with the added poignancy of a Kalamazoo location. Michael’s vocals rise and soar through this track and feel like a lament to the victims with the constant banjo providing a fittingly haunting accompaniment.
The weaving of new arrangements into traditional songs are seamless and highlighted on ‘Wondrous Love/Lay Aside Your Crown’ where the choral music of the American South has been superbly enhanced by the additional lyrics and brilliant banjo playing of Laurel.
The title track ‘Fall Away Blues’ offers up the healing power of music, dance and song as a way of challenging the blues that accompany love gone wrong – fall away blues, damn you! It is one of the highlights of a mellow and lovely sounding album.
A minor criticism of the album would be the lack of a change of pace from time to time. However, if you have read or seen the film of Nick Hornby’s novel ‘High Fidelity’, (and if not then do it!), then you will know that the lead character deals with moments of extreme emotional highs and lows by either re arranging his vinyl collection or compiling playlists. File ‘Fall Away Blues’ away for those days when you just need be contemplative or wallow in your own company and enjoy. You can find one of those other get up and dance with the hairbrush songs elsewhere in your collection!
Folk meets blues on a good night in