Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem Break Down Boundaries

RANI ARBO & daisy mayhem
Some Bright Morning
Signature Sounds 2076
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Some Bright Morning was recorded in Massachusetts, but Ray Bonneville’s guitar contribution for “Travelin’ Shoes” was sent from Texas–an apt device for a project that obliterates lots of boundaries. Categorizing daisy mayhem’s music is a challenge. Arbo has a penchant for gospel music with a secular tinge, which one will hear to beautiful effect on “Crossing the Bar,” her musical scoring of the famed Tennyson poem. But then there’s Anand Nayak’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Reason to Believe,” which is what The Boss might have done it if he was feeling a little bit country. Nayak confounds again On “Johnny Brown” with his down-and-dirty electric guitar that’s somewhere between Chicago-style and Delta blues. And, of course, the band follow with a tune called “Fall River” that sounds as if it was penned to honor the hamlet in southern Tennessee, not the city in southern Massachusetts. That’s also closer to the neck of the woods Andrew Kinsey explores on “Fire in the Sky,” with a vocal that sounds like he’s channeling Ralph Stanley. But when the band gets to an honest-to-goodness Appalachian chestnut like “East Virginia”–a variant of a Child Ballad no less–we get a slowed-down and soulful treatment with sensitive fiddle and guitar solos, not the expected bluegrass breakdown. And let’s give a nod to the singer songwriter tradition while we’re at it. Arbo has two (completely) original compositions on this album, “Bridges” and the “Miami Moon.” The first is Arbo’s musing on the parallel destruction done by Hurricane Irene and the dissolution of a friend’s marriage; the second a swingy song to honor a departed neighbor who loved to dance. Try to get the chorus of “Miami Moon” out of your head. Give up? Complete surrender–that’s my suggested response to everything on this fine album.

Watch and listen to the kick-butt opening track "Here Jerusalem Moan."  

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