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cdcov The Company

~ Six & Five ~

Review by Mark Cryle

This is the third cd from Brisbane-based bluegrass quartet The Company in their current iteration, following on from their eponymously titled release of 2012 and Trouble (2014). The band further develops their contemporary acoustic music sound taking their lead from American acts such as The Punch Brothers, Crooked Still, Nickel Creek etc. The accent here is more on original melodic songs and tunes, sophisticated and multi-layered lyrical content and often intricate arrangements rather than the hard driving trad style associated with Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers. Having said that, Blow that Whistle proves they have readily absorbed those influences and carried them forward.

All the individual members (Mick Patrick: mandolin & vocals ; George Jackson: fiddle & banjo ; Jamie Clark: guitar ; Markus Karlsen: bass) are virtuosos in their own right but their playing here invariably supports the songs and tunes rather than turning the recording exercise into a "chop fest". Nor will you hear tales of the hills of Tennessee or the coal mines of Kentucky from these guys. Rather, the lyrical references are refreshingly Australian without being mawkishly so.

Writing is shared amongst the band members with Jackson taking more of a lead on the tunes and Clark contributing half of the songs. To this listener though, it sounds like the arrangements are very much collective affairs, thoughtfully and carefully rendered. The playing, singing and writing are first class. The sound is clean and sweet. If you are a bluegrass lover you should grab a copy of this. If you are someone who might be deterred by the clichés and the stereotypical musical conventions of that genre, you should definitely give Six & Five a listen because The Company manage deftly to eschew these clichés, while remaining soundly within the genre.

and for more info visit www.thecompanybluegrass


cdcov Daylight Moon ~ Song et Lumiere ~

Review by Ian Dearden

I love people with passion. Passion for life, for love, and for music. Ross Clark and Helena Bond, the constituent parts of Daylight Moon, are passionate partners in love, life and music. Song et Lumiere, with its Anglo/French title twist (the phrase 'son et lumiere' translates, literally, as ‘sound and light’) is their second album as a duo, and reflects their shared passions for singing, performing, songwriting, and the French language.

The album features seven Ross Clark originals (Ross has turned a lifetime of poetry into a deft facility with songwriting). The balance of the album contains a series of well-chosen covers, from the enigmatic Shel Silverstein number, The Eyes of Lucy Jordan, to Kristina Olsen’s homage to life drawing (The Truth of a Woman), Slim Dusty’s homage to Camooweal, the classic Ain’t Misbehavin, and a rewritten version of You Are My Sunshine, titled (naturally enough) You Are My Moonshine. These covers are in turn quirky, emotional and highly amusing!

The Ross Clark originals include a twist on the gypsy guitarist trope (To His Guitar), the nostalgic Anglo/French In The Dappled Shade (translation by Helena), inspired by a few days Ross and Helena spent in a gypsy caravan in France on their European vacation, Get You Naked (more ruminations on life drawing …and perhaps something more), Love Me Like (a big love ballad) and In The Lap Of Morning (a children’s poem put to music by Ross).

The revelation of the album, for me, are the exquisite vocals of Helena – she inhabits the songs she sings with a gorgeous and seductive soprano timbre, contrasting in harmony passages with Ross' earthier and more rough-edged contributions. They are, unsurprisingly, delightful, charming and wryly humorous in live performance, where their easy banter and mutual passion (for each other, and the songs) delights and entrances their audience.

The album graphics are exquisite, there are some deft nude sketches by Ross and images of clouds and French military insignia by Helena, a range of musical guests add various instrumental contributions, and the whole package is bound up with oodles and oodles of love!! You can buy a copy from Ross and Helena at one of their regular performances around Brisbane.

More at their website: www.daylightmoon.info


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