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Fire Dancer by Beau + Luci

Fire Dancer by Beau and LuciFrom Southern Georgia comes the duo Beau + Luci who pleasantly blend modern country and Gospel with pop elements to forge their distinctive sound. They fashion themselves as “flower children with rock ‘n roll souls” as they vocally deliver rich harmonies and catchy melodies influenced by legends like the Allman Brothers, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash.

Beau + Luci are sisters who began singing early on in church, founding a live group called the Crossroads Worship Band. They were eventually inspired to branch out and develop their talents into other areas of music. In 2012, the sisters began recording originals and cover songs and publishing on YouTube and they spent the subsequent years refining their sound and songwriting skills.

Fire Dancer was produced by Dan Hannon and recorded in his Georgia studio. The album’s title was inspired by a character from author Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart novel. The result is a sound that is fascinating , with complex vocal layering, some traditional rootsy “siren” sounds, and country crooning with a little bit of rock diva.

Roots Rock Review logoFire Dancer by Beau and Luci
Released: March 3, 2017
Produced by: Dan Hannon
Track Listing Primary Musicians
Fire Dancer
Like a Drum
Black Boots
Rattle the Bones
Among the Stars
Muddy Water
Deeper Well
Beau
Lead Vocals
Luci
Lead Vocals
Scott Sharrard
Guitars
Peter Levin
Keyboards
Rami Jaffee
Keyboards

 

The album’s opening title track, “Fire Dancer”, features rich, high vocals with plenty of vibrato as well as rich production techniques with subtle sounds weaving in and out of the solid Americana rhythms. “Like a Drum” has a bit of a sinister feel to it, like a chant around a fire circle, with an interesting mix of banjo and guitar built around the steady, thumping percussive beat. The lyrics on this track  talk of “going through a difficult time, where there’s this constant wear and tear on your heart and you feel like you can’t get any relief, but also a refusal to give in”. “Black Boots” is more rock oriented than the first two songs, with a harder edge to the guitar and very catchy melodies.

Beau and Luci

The stomping beat and roadhouse country of “Rattle the Bones” showcases some Southern rock influence and another hook filled melody. “Among the Stars” is an acoustic ballad with ethereal sounds and softly controlled vocals in an almost folk-rock delivery. It was written for a close friend who was in the process of dealing with the loss of a family member with a tinge of hope of seeing those loved ones again.

The album’s final sequence shows a real appreciation for Southern roots music. “Muddy Water” sounds like rolling water with a spiritual jam and bluesy guitars.  The song was written while the duo were in Macon, Georgia to see Gregg Allman in concert and make a pilgrimage to all places related to the Allman Brothers Band. Luci stated that “Macon has always held a sense of magic to us; some of our favorite bands called it home. The soul of the town and the legends who lived there inspired us to write Muddy Water, with the hope that we would carry on that legacy in our way, so that song means a lot to us. ” The unlisted traditional bluegrass song, “Down to the River to Pray” leads to the cover of Emmylou Harris’s “Deeper Well” with intense sonic effects to close out the album.

While the duo states that “every track on this album is a massive piece of us as people and as artists”, Beau + Luci have found that final track to be an apt closer because it signifies the ability to find something deeper when it appears like your “river has run dry”. The duo continues to write new material while touring constantly and are eager to start another recording project in the near future.

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Beau and Luci online

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Beau and Luci website
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The Tinker’s Dream
by Chris Murphy

The Tinker's Dream by Chris Murphy“Irish Fiddle Music” is stamped on the CD cover of Chris Murphy’s latest release, The Tinker’s Dream. However, that phrase may not aptly describe what awaits the listener who dares open the package to hear what it actually contains. The sounds are definitely steeped in traditional Irish sounds and instrumentation featuring fiddle, pennywhistle, mandolin, bodhran and bouzouki along with acoustic guitar, bass, piano and drums. However, the result is something more worldly. The songs leap and bound along painting lush landscapes with bright waves of sound, the sequencing is masterful as the journey is mapped through the sounds and feelings conveyed through the music.

Released on January 27, 2017, this is the third album in less than a calendar year by the Los Angeles based performer, recording artist and musical instructor, following the 2016 releases Surface to Air and Red Mountain Blues.

Roots Rock Review logoThe Tinker’s Dream by Chris Murphy
Released: January 27, 2017
Produced by: Chris Murphy
Track Listing Primary Musicians
Connemara Ponies
Union of the Seven Brothers
The Tinker’s Dream
Wicklow
Gibraltar 1988
Cape Horn
The Artful Dodger
Small Wonder
The Tower
Maritime Jig
The Thistlewood Bridge
The Hayloft Waltz
Chris Murphy
Lead Vocals, Violin, Mandolin, Guitar
Nate Laponte
Guitar, Vocals
Tom Moose
Mandolin, Guitar
Zac Leger
Bouzouki, Guitar, Flute, Penny Whistle
Trevor Hutchinson
Bass
Andy Reilly
Drums, Percussion, Bodhran

 

The album opens with three instrumentals, “Connemara Ponies”, “Union of the Seven Brothers” and the tile track, “The Tinker’s Dream”.
In “Connemara Ponies”, one can imagine the traditional horses of Ireland galloping through emerald green meadows as the fiddle and mandolin dance along. “Union of the Seven Brothers” has a bit of a darker tone though it still feels as though there is hope and sunshine peering through a misty horizon, while “The Tinker’s Dream” is a joyful dance of sunshine and happy thoughts with the fiddle dancing over the
steady percussion and accented flute.

The remaining highlights of the album include one of three songs with lyrics, “Small Wonder” which showcases Murphy’s soothing vocal style, “The Tower” which is a simple jig featuring fiddle and acoustic guitar and a simple percussive beat which create a stunningly dramatic portrait, and “Cape Horn”, one of several songs about travel and adventure at sea.

Cape Horn from The Teahouse Company on Vimeo.

Overall, The Tinker’s Dream only contains three songs with words, but that does not keep it from speaking volumes. The instrumentation, arrangements and songwriting capture and convey moments exquisitely. This album also marks the midway point of Murphy’s planned six releases over a short time span and so far his three albums have been diverse and entertaining.

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Chris Murphy online

Chris Murphy on Facebook
Chris Murphy website
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Where the Lore Began
by Jeremiah Tall

Buy Where the Lore Began

Where the Lore Began by Jeremiah TallPennsylvania native Jeremiah Tall is a roots musician who draws musical inspiration from the mountains and great outdoors while his lyrics range from the tall tales of his youth to the realities of everyday life. On his latest full length album, Where the Lore Began, Tall delivers eleven tracks of strong but sparsely-arranged tunes that are melodic and potent and just diverse enough to make for an interesting listen from beginning to end.

Tall performs a one-man show where his vocals are accompanied by a variety of instruments including acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin. He also adds an occasional harmonica lead and keeps a steady stomp with a custom kick drum converted from a hand painted suitcase. This 2015 album follows his 2014 EP Waking, which was produced by Bill Moriarty. For Where the Lore Began, Moriarity co-produced with Tim Bostwick as well as Tall, who did some independent recordings.

“Almost Heaven” kicks off as a short, banjo-fused stomp with the repeated chorus being the entirety of the lyrics in this minute-long song. “A Heart at War” follows as a pop-oriented blue grass tune with some strategic stops for good effect and a fine harmonica solo. “Hard Working Man” finds Tall nearly solo on mandolin with the slightest rhythmic arrangement and great vocals throughout, while “I Got a Name” is a banjo led folk jam with a middle section a cool clapping/percussion. “Where The Dandelions Roam” is a slightly melancholy ode to a love of nature not shared by a significant other and features good acoustic guitar action, where “Moonlight” is the first song with a rich arrangement, including a Farfisa organ by Ben Mazz as well as a richer bass and vocal effects, which works to give this short track a haunting feel.

Another pleasant but haunting acoustic folk, “Never Surrender” is decorated with some strings for a cool vibe as the lyrics tell of armed resistance and the harmonica lead is an overall highlight on the album. “Time” is a much brighter song than the preceding cuts, almost a celebratory love song all performed above a scratched out banjo riff, sparse but effective bass and some slight backing vocals in the chorus. “Two Timing Tommy” is a working-class acoustic guitar folk song about a bank robbing anti-hero. The inclusion of Erica Erenyi on cello and Jamie Shadowlight on violin really work here to make this a dark and direct tune. “Working For” is a moody track about a worn out laborer and this features another rich arrangement with thumping rhythms and some very potent vocal dynamics. The album concludes with “Salvation”, which completes the loop as a banjo track with lyrics that are dramatic and a vocal delivered with much desperation.

Since the release of Where the Lore Began in October 2015, Jeremiah Tall has continued to play heavily in the Northeast and in 2016 began to tour across the USA as a supporting act.

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Jeremiah Tall online

Jeremiah Tall on Twitter  Jeremiah Tall on Facebook
Jeremiah Tall website
Buy Where the Lore Began