By: John Knighton, FATEA Magazine
Album: Bonfire To Ash
This is a wonderful collection of songs from this American duo, who are currently touring the UK and I would urge you to go and see them in the flesh if this album is anything to go by.
The production throughout is tasty, with lush vocals and tight arrangements. Willy Porter is an accomplished guitarist with ten albums to his name. Carmen Nickerson is a talented singer who can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.
Their music is smooth and well-crafted. I was reminded of Alison Krauss and Union Station as I listened.
But this duo is making their own mark. The harmonies throughout are superb. Subtle guitar and helpful additions in places from piano, cello and eclectic and lap steel guitars.
The result is top quality. Listen to Nickerson sing on Living Proof, carrying the song along into the arrangement. Really good.
Songs are given space to breathe and I applaud that approach. Listen to the wonderful harmonies on Wasting Time, a slow lush tear-jerker that just oozes class.
The opening track Old Red Barn sets the tone from off, with its loose care-free tone. The funky In Bloom builds very nicely without ever getting out of control, Loving On Her Mind is another slower song that concentrates on melding the vocals together. Earthquake features guitar high up in the mix and is one of rockier numbers here. As poignant love songs go, If You Stay, is right up there.
The final track Sign starts with Porter sounding as if he’s sitting on a porch. This is a delightful thoughtful song with more great harmonies and sprightly piano from Ben Wisch.
A mention to for the wonderfully sympathetic bass of Zev Katz and the drums of Ben Wittman.
There’s also a full set of lyrics in the accompanying booklet which gets bonus marks from me.
This is a lovely album that will be appreciated by anyone who loves great music. Recommended.
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