|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
“Shanendoah” is a collection of traditional American bluegrass and folk songs.
The songs are recorded on acoustic instruments (guitar, mandolin, bass, mandocello and whistle). It features the tight harmonies of Sarajane and Michael who are the Selkies.
Artist Bio: Michael is an American singer who survived the folk scene in the 60s and 70s in New York, then moved to Australia to play in various bush and folk bands including the Ragged Band and Shearers Dream. He plays guitar, mandolin fiddle and bass and fills in the “boy” part of the boy-girl harmonies.
Sarajane of the angelic voice plays guitar and whistle and fills in the “girl” parts of the boy-girl harmonies. Her carefully selected tunes have been known to bring an audience to tears and her interpretations of standard folk tunes breathes a new life into them.
Together Sarajane and Michael connect to produce a rich harmonic and melodic brew of enchanting vocals.
The Selkies perform regularly in Sydney and are also a featured act at the Turning Wave Festival and at the Kangaroo Valley Folk festival.
The “Shenandoah” CD has the following songs on it in this order:
1. Country Blues 2. Orphan Girl 3. Katie Dear 4. Rain and Snow 5. River to Pray 6. Shenandoah 7. Henry My Son 8. Oh Mary Don’t You Weep 9. 500 Miles 10. Man of Constant Sorrow 11. Come and Go With Me to that Land
The Selkies – Shenandoah
CD review by Don Bannister
The Cover / Holder
The Selkies have produced an album of excellent songs. The front cover is a river, supposedly the Shenandoah. The inner sleeve has pictures of Sarajane in black and whitish blue, though a bit blurred and the one of Michael is pixilated and fuzzy but one gets an idea of who the artists are. Thanks are given to appropriate people and Michael’s father has the album dedicated to him, being the “original singer”. Good to see aural history being passed on and maintained by the Selkies. The back of the cover sleeve has a poem about the Selkies which is excellent, though a bit vague, which I think is a good thing because it might motivate people to find out more about Selkies. Underneath the poem are the very vital contact details, with phone numbers and website. The back of the inner sleeve has a poem about Selkies, the seal people of Irish mythology, which does not seem relevant to the songs being sung, where as the other Selkies sing Irish songs, which is quite relevant. The back cover has the song titles and Numbers (these are very important especially for airplay) but alas no times and this is just as important. All the photos are dark and bleak and in winter, which does not warm me to the album, however in colour, cold as it seems, it would look very different. (Of course this is subjective, my opinion and not a fact)
Unfortunately there are now two duos called the Selkies, which will make things difficult for the consumer when purchasing CDs. I’m assuming this is the Selkies first album and if so, then it is as to be expected, at the middle of the learning curve. I feel quite sure that the next one will be really, really good and will only get better.
The singing is adequate with moments of something really good happening. However, Michael’s ability to hold and sustain notes on the slower songs is lacking. SaraJane is the stronger singer, though at times I thought she wavered a bit too, but I’ not sure whether it was intentional or a weak moment. In other songs such as “Country Blues”, Michael (& Sara- Jane’s) vocal ability begins to shine through. I did find the sound a bit thin in some songs where it could’ve been fatter, ie more players, with different instruments and more backing vocals, maybe do the voices through a choral (multiple layered tracks) effect when recording, particularly on the choruses.
This album had my feet tapping and my voice singing and it has a lot of my favourite songs on the one album. I also suggest you keep your eye on Michael and SaraJane because I think there is a great potential here.
3 in stock (can be backordered)