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Land And Harbor

Shawn Lane & Richard Bennett

 

2019 - Bonfire Recording. If you follow Bluegrass music then you will recognize Shawn Lane from his work with Blue Highway and Richard Bennett from his Flashback days.  Now they come together, with the help of Gaven Largent, to create this five cut EP.  One of the major problems that I have with Bluegrass music is the fact that most albums are improperly mixed as the instrumentals tend to outweigh the vocals to create a cacophony of sound.  This album trembles with those miscalculations and it is those errors that can make a well creative album unworthy.  The most memorable parts of this EP are found in the instrumental breaks within each of the songs.  Bennett and Lane understand the creative process of writing a good song.  If words do not enhance and further tell the story, then instrumentals can.  Back in the infancy of music, many musicians used this little trick.  The consensus of today’s songwriters is that they get paid by the word; when in reality they don’t.  As I dissect this EP, I can pick out a comparable baseline melody among the guitar strumming patterns and picking.  If it weren’t for the resophonic guitar and added guitar licks, many of these songs would sound identical.  The album opens with the men’s rendition of a classic public domain song called “Shady Grove,” and then continues with four original songs. Among these originals we find “Nautical Song” with it’s transcendent message.  Bluegrass is known for its admirable narrative songs and we find that within “Harmon’s Den.” Further more, it is their final song, “Mussel Shell,” that speaks volumes.  Shawn and Richard capture the peaceful and simplistic essence of returning to Mother Earth amongst the lyrics.  This song will certainly hit our list of Top Songs of 2019, while earning a nomination for the Spirit Award’s Song of The Year Award.  I would love to hear more from this talented duo, nonetheless, I do yearn for them to tone down the picking.  Perhaps if the infusion of instrumentals and vocals were balanced, then beyond doubt their true creativity would emerge.  $$$-$$$$

 

(© Strictly Country Magazine - March / April 2019)

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