|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.0 cm|
This is the first album by Brisbane based duo Sadie and Jay and it is startlingly good. Ten tracks, all originals, weave a story. Here is a story of love and the human condition, of time passing; a story of letting go, anticipation, pure devotion, friskiness, heartbreak,
drinking and longing.
The genre is hard to define. The songs are diverse in mood and rhythm but despite this, the album is not overcrowded musically.
There are a couple of stand-out songs for me. The opening track hy ould You (Jones) is immediately captivating. Who doesn’t want to be that person, strong and resolute, willing to leave past mistakes behind and totally and completely be in the present? Stunning lead vocals by Sadiewith layered vocal and guitar harmonies by Jay. The song keeps pestering you, over and over and over…by the fireside, on the wings of a bird in flight, on the edge of a cliff top, why would you want to be anywhere else? What a bold start. Violin accompaniment from Tom (Pixie) Owens is classical in feel but so very free and there is subtle, sympathetic cello from Rebecca Wright. The song is an anthem.
Papamoa Rag (Penman) is equally a favourite but with a totally different feel. Jaunty, happy, toe tapping guitar and lyrics and once again, the fiddle (Owen) adding a special light-heartedness. The songster may be stuck in the traffic, working for someone else but
he is on his way to walking barefoot with you on the sand, under the Queensland sun. The instrumentation throughout is spot on. Guitars, violin and cello have been beautifully recorded. Mark Smith has captured their authentic acoustic quality. Penman’s finger style guitar playing is skilled and melodic providing the perfect foundation for the majority of the songs and the duo’s unique sound. The keyboards and bass (Jones) are always tasteful.
I’m uncertain if any of the tracks were arranged prior to recording or whether they unfolded organically but the results are fabulous. It is clear that the guest artists are all professional musicians and all are totally committed to complimenting the songs as they hear them. There is no confusion here about what should feature – it is always the songs.
The cover artwork (Penman) intrigued me. Who is this girl on the cover and why is she so melancholy? It turns out the girl’s story is told in track three Ellen’s Lullaby(Jones). It is a sad song, with echoes of traditional folk, and a yearning for something that you are not quite sure of and complemented by exceptional Bodhran (McKay). Percussion (Hibbs) on track five You’ve Got Me (Jones) sets the perfect feel for the places the songster is going, places she would not normally go….goodness, this song is hot!! Sassy electric guitar (Stewart) adds a blues feel and polish to Cigarettes and Bourbon (Penman & Jones).
There is nothing prosaic about this album. The style is fresh and the vocals, particularly from Sadie Jones, world class. I loved this album and I am curious to find out just what Sadie and Jay will do next, whatever it is it is bound to be beautiful and dangerous.
The musicians on this album are: Sadie Gwynn Jones (Vocals, Keyboard, Bass), David Jay Penman (Vocals, Guitar). The album features guest artists Rebecca Wright(Cello), Tom Owen (Fiddle), Suzanne Hibbs (Percussion), Donald McKay (Bodhran) and Robbie Stewart (Electric guitar). The album was recorded at Fruitbat Studiosand recorded, mixed & mastered by Mark Smith for Real Productions
Folk Rag Review by Alison Mckenzie.
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