3 Pairs of Boots – Long Rider
Moored in a standard traditional California country harbor the husband-and-wife duo of Andrew Stern & Laura Arias embellish their music as 3 Pairs of Boots with strong instrumentation. I like Laura — she adds vocal excitement in her showcase (“Devil Road”) that shows a wealth of ambition. Some of this tweaking may be based on 60s pop styles but because many listening today haven’t tapped into that source in decades Laura makes it fresh & innovative.
With a tinge of Dolly Parton/Cyndi Lauper in her striking vocals (“Angels of the Trail” & “My Best Friend,”) Laura maintains her irresistible style but doesn’t fall back on the Parton-isms or Lauper-style too often. With “Take a Step,” the duo unleashes a dynamic country musicale of hand-clapping, sharp drums & melodic guitar runs that should get on the radar & pay dividends.
The 10-cut LP dropped Jan. 29th as Long Rider (Dark Country Records). A little more progressive in nature is “Everywhere I Go,” — thick & absorbs all the moisture of any possible commercialized country cliches or repetition. This is diversified & has clarity. It never loses its Top 40 appeal. The chiming guitars are so heavy & delightful (all instruments Andrew Stern), drums (Christian Paschall) & vocals Laura. Musically, this is incredible because it sounds like a full-tilt band. It has power, authority & sounds vivid. Well produced by Andrew – kudos on the exemplary sound on this production.
It’s also to be noted that Andrew is a musician who has been around the barn a few times. He’s not a novice. And it’s clear on this set.
“I Am the Map,” slows things down to a wonderful ballad with acoustic guitars. Laura proves she isn’t all about a country sound – she could easily sing in any supper club, nightclub environment effectively. The added female backup vocals reinforce the song & add depth. There is no evidence of Dolly Parton tone here – Laura is Laura & potent.
This duo has successfully developed a distinctive sound with emotional range, threaded with lyrics that actually tell a story. They add these little instrumental punctuations that bring out the aroma of each song.
“Low,” is a surprise – Laura digs deep into a Janis Joplin type tone (without getting too gritty) yet maintains her own vocal spirit as Andrew parallels her voice with little guitar runs & drummer Chris lays down a pulsing drum. I love it.
This is country with just enough rock & roll seasoning to be so…so cool. I’m taken with the originality, creativity & variants in this showcase. As a collective, it’s all impressive.
The CD is available at https://www.3pairsofboots.com/