Fairy Dust Sprinkled Southern Alt. Country.
What more can I say but my head still spins with excitement whenever I play Pickxen’s album PICKS n Vittles; so when John and Laura sent me their latest 6 track offering I did a little ‘Snoopy dance of joy’ in the kitchen!
The accompanying letter explains that this is actually a fascinating project; as the couple are releasing this ‘raw’ EP to raise enough funds to bring in a band a producer to ‘fill out’ the songs for release as a bona-fide album later in 2017……and I urge you to buy both; you won’t regret it.
Opening track ‘Cher Knee is the type of late night Country ballad that I dream of hearing in a darkened bar in the wrong side of town, as Laura Monk goes into heartbroken Linda Ronstadt, Lena Martell or Lynn Anderson mode, with some searing Redd Volkaert guitar licks in the background.
Oh dear…….I immediately had a lump in my throat as Laura’s immaculate voice wobbles on the repeated opening lines of “I read your letter in the rain” and it stayed there for the next three solid minutes. Unless there’s a puppy involved, Country songs don’t get any more Countrier than this……heartbreak by the numbers, and tears by the ton.
I’ve Fallen Away is another beautiful bittersweet Country Love Song that will grab you by the heartstrings then tug and squeeze them until you can’t draw breath; but you won’t care as Laura Monk truly has the voice of a teenage Country Angel.
As a man without a musical bone in my body, songs like BS for Breakfast amaze me. The opening line “Brussels sprouts for breakfast” and the Twangtastic guitar certainly caught my attention and the story of a brokedown relationship that follows is another 100% Classic Country song of misery and love and can only come from the heart; can’t it? Well….not exactly according to John’s letter, and without taking too much of the ‘magic’ away, the Brussels Sprouts bit is accurate then he let his imagination run away with him…….brilliant and I can’t do anything other than salute such a vivid imagination.
John Monk’s imagination runs riot on the final track Cedars of Lebanon, where he read a biography of WB Yeats then got to thinking about the Lebanese flag which features a Cedar tree which is a metaphor for the eternal qualities of life…..then he goes on to write another exceptional Country Song. How does he; and his like do it? I don’t really care; but it certainly enriches my life.
Which brings us around to my favourite song here; the Mavericks influenced Another You; a timeless melody and richly eloquent song that will appeal to Country, World and Pop Music fans alike if it was to get played on the wireless.
As I said at the beginning, the purpose of this disc (and downloads) is to raise funds for a more fleshed out, bigger sound for the proposed album; but as an un-musical music fan I would urge caution as in my humble opinion these stark and occasionally raw performances allow Laura’s voice to bring these often beautiful stories to life in a way that could get lost in the hands of an over enthusiastic producer.
Just a thought.
Released July 1st 2017