Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2018-04-27
Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song
Kacy & Clayton - The Siren's Song

This album has been out in America and Canada since August of 2017. Now, it finally gets a British release. But really, the clock stands still with this one because it time travels back to the wonderful and melodic days when folk and country rock ruled the racks at my local music store, known appropriately as Freedom Records.

I mean, by 1972, even The Everly Brothers had gone country with their albums Stories We Could Tell and Pass the Chicken and Listen, the latter being produced by Chet Atkins.

Ah, Mason Proffit, New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Cowboy, The Byrds, Emmylou Harris, The Dillards, Mike Nesmith’s First National Band, Linda Ronstadt, Brewer and Shipley, and even Kenny Rogers and the First Edition with their double concept album, The Ballad of Calico…

And there are people who claim I once wore a leather-fringed coat, flag patches on my jeans (a la Neil Young) and beaded moccasins during this time. Thankfully, there are no photos to confirm this claim.

But I love this Kacy & Clayton folk-country rock record. It almost wants me to dig through the closet to find that fringed leather jacket.

As Richard Thompson said, “If you really mean it, it all comes around again.”

The first song, “The Light of Day,” is a picture-perfect portrait of those wonderful halcyon long-haired days when we all wanted no more than a patch of land, a packet of seeds, and a decent stereo system. The land was honest, and country folk music was honest, too. Yeah, so it all “comes around again.”

This folk-rock music also recalls the nascent years of Fairport Convention, up to and including their Unhalfbricking album. Kacy Anderson’s voice is an echo of Sandy Denny; and her cousin, Clayton Linthicum, haunts the boney edges of the songs with his guitar, much like the work of the before-quoted (and great) Richard Thompson. “Just Like a Summer Cloud” is another example. But “A Lifeboat” huddles next to the absolute beauty of “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.” The guitar work also vibrates with the sound of (the equally great) John Martyn. And there’s a bit of Beverley Martyn’s vocal delivery from Stormbringer or Road to Ruin.

Yes, this album is a wonderful blend of Canadian country rock music and the British folk scene of the early 70’s.

“White Butte Country” is the odd man out. Clayton takes the lead vocal that fronts an up-beat Canadian country tune. And while it is true to say that Kacy has an absolutely drop dead gorgeous voice, it would be nice to hear more of his singing, especially in harmony like the closing song “Go and Leave Me.”

By the way, those leather-fringed-beaded-moccasin-country folk music everywhere days were just a wonderous time. Sure, I probably don’t need to hear “Hotel California” ever again, and Firefall were really boring, but this was a time when pedal steel guitarist Rusty Young of Poco fame could mesmerize an arena audience the first night after Richie Fury had left the band. I know. I was there.

Not only that, but this country rock ethos even spun in the grooves of The Rolling Stones, with their “Dead Flowers” tune on Sticky Fingers. And (my beloved) Mott the Hoople cut the country-styled Wildlife.

The final songs are, perhaps, the strongest on the album. “A Certain Kind of Memory” just melts with buttered beauty. And I could be wrong, but there’s more Fairport here with such deeply lovely vocals and emotive guitar. “The World Has Seven Wonders” rolls again with Canadian country rock and an intricate vocal line. In some ways, the tune reminds me of Kelly Willis’ recent albums.

She sang, “Nobody wants to go to the moon any more.”

This record reminds me of the time when we all wanted to do that sort of thing. You know, go to the moon, look up at the night sky, and buy a few albums that pulled the moon closer and made the night sky a bit more inviting.

The title track, “Siren’s Song,” is epic with a yearning vocal and more of an echo of John Martyn’s guitar work. This one is simply seven seas deep. What a wonderous fusion of vocal, guitar, and the dramatic rhythm section of Mike Silverman on percussion and Shuyler Jansen on bass. I’m even reminded of The Pentangle with its jazzy edge.

The album ends with “Go and Leave Me.” Kacy’s vocal matches the warm tenderness of fellow Canadians Kate and Anna McGarrigle. It’s  the only non-original tune, but the song ties the ribbon bows of the record with a sound that is passionate, urgent, centuries old, and, at the same time, a wonderful throwback to a time when we all wore patched jeans, fringed jackets, beaded moccasin shoes; it was a time when the beauty of the actual song really mattered; and it was  a time when shy talent mattered, even in a big arena when bands played a new take on traditional music, and audiences were ready to whisper their attention to a truly beautiful voice, sympathetic guitar playing, and a deep love for the simple notes of life.

  

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