13 Seasons

emith

Fogbound Child, 2008

http://www.emith.com/

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/30/2009

emith, small e and pronounced eh-mith, is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Carol Ann Ives, plus lead guitarist and harmonica player Steve Gurr. The press release that accompanied the CD states that they perform both as an acoustic duo and with a full band of rotating members who play bass, keyboards, and drums. 13 Seasons features the full band, yet when I explored their website it seems as if they primarily tour as a duo. Maybe this is for economic reasons, but what you hear on this disc may not be what you always get live.

13 Seasons is a well-crafted album with thoughtful lyrics and catchy melodies. They fall into the singer/songwriter school of independent music, but they exhibit a little more punch than the usual indie fare, at least in their full group incarnation.nbtc__dv_250

The sound is professionally produced and is clearer than on many independent releases. The tri-fold package contains a booklet with the words to their songs, which projects an aura of confidence as eleven of the thirteen tracks are written or co-written by the duo.

The strongest song from the album has been released as the lead single. “High Sierra” is up-tempo country pop with some nice electric guitar on the break. Simple lyrics and a sweet, flowing melody add up to a song that stays in your head.

“San Bernardino” is similar to “High Sierra” and appears to be safe ground for the pair. This simple pop-rock tune about traveling is perfect for the car stereo system. Ives has an excellent voice and is able to present their material in an effective manner.

“As Summer Turns To Fall” is a third superior track here. It begins as reflective and sparse, transitions to up-tempo, and then returns to the simplicity of its beginning. This complex song of love and time’s passing hints at emith’s potential.

On some of the tracks, emith shows that they are a work in progress. In some places the lyrics are a little obscure. “Once Before Its Over” is a little too jazzy for my comfort listening zone. A number of songs have excellent bits and pieces but do not quite come together as a whole.

The two cover songs are one failure and one brilliant re-creation. Their version of The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow The Sun” suffers in the vocals, and there are so many better versions out there. On the other hand, the old Grass Roots hit “Let’s Live For Today” is a wonderful version of this old song, and the vocals and instruments just come together here.

emith seems to have many of the components for a successful career. It will be interesting to see how they evolve as the years pass. In the meantime, 13 Seasons is an interesting and worthwhile introduction.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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