There’s a ghostly quality to Ambrosia Parsley, always has been. Over the course of four studio albums with Shivaree, the New York singer/songwriter’s voice came through the dreamy, dark pop in whispers, smoke signals amidst the prevailing caterwauls of the day. Visual images of her have likewise been somehow opaque, out of step with the look-at-me era. The time she’s living through is one of tumult and loss, evidenced here on the 41-year-old mother’s solo debut, Weeping Cherry. Its songs speak to a chaotic, fragile world, and Parsley calls its years long writing and recording process “an exorcism more than an exercise, which is actually nice.” That bittersweet die was likely cast at the project’s outset, when, in a span of six months, Parsley lost a series of band mates, friends, and family to untimely deaths.
1.Nine Pound Hammer
2.High on the Mountaintop
3.Outside in the Morning
4.Stone Walls and Steel Bars
5.Brown County Rag
8.Cumberland Gap (Live)
Leo Rondeau’s 2009 sophomore offering, Down at the End of the Bar, unfurled behind the local songwriter’s languid twang, but his third LP kicks into a raucous party. His drawl still draws, shading tones of Gram Parsons, yet peels almost breathlessly against the faster tunes and packed-tight phrasings. Opener “Love Again” bursts with a country chorus and Tex-Mex spice as Gary Newcomb’s pedal steel spars with Pete Weiss’ accordion, the pairing at full effect on the zydeco-inflected romp “Alligator Man.” The rolling lyrics of “Here’s My Heart” and “Blackjack Davy Revisited” compel in the cracks of Rondeau’s vocals as he keeps pace, while “Bound to Be a Winner” cuts a darker shade as his range stretches. Rondeau’s voice is best deployed when he takes his time, as “Right in the Middle” finds the balance and “Resistance in My Blood” allows his words to linger.
” Janice, whose voice I’ve recently seen described as being reminiscent of Janie Fricke, had me on the dance floor with her take of I’ll Need Someone To Hold Me (When I Cry). With control of the band, and adding one well-suited cover after another, Janice, showing her strength as front person, kept the room […]