The Sound Field – This Moment of the Storm
12-cuts fill this San Francisco band’s new CD This Moment of the Storm (Rocker Chick Media/Released March). It opens with “It’s About Time,” & with a unique voice Deborah Grabien (electric guitars/Baglama Saz) puts forth her creative delivery. While the material itself is nothing new musically it’s propulsive with superb vocals & backup vocals. Ms. Grabien is not as tender-voiced as the Grateful Dead’s Donna Godeaux but there’s a hint of that era’s showcase when Donna was featured with the Dead & Jerry Garcia Band. “Across My Kitchen Door,” has a memorable melody & is well-played.
David Lindley’s featured on Irish Bouzouki for the Steve Earle classic “Copperhead Road.” This has a nice roots-based Deborah Grabien approach. She displays the richness of singers like June Tabor crossed with the late Sandy Denny which is evident. In a traditional sense, Deborah could be an effective folk singer. She has the voice for American mountain, English/Irish & Scottish folk.
There’s instrumental fire throughout the 9-minute track “Zoo In Heaven,” — a daring choice. Few listeners have the patience to sit through a single long cut unless it has substance. Fortunately, this excursion goes by quickly because it’s well-arranged & performed. Layered instruments recorded extremely well. It’s a long 3-minute intro before vocals but it’s engaging. Mindful of catchy melodic tempests such as The James Gang’s “The Ashes, the Rain & I,” or Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys’ instrumental “Track In A,” (also a 9-minute – produced by Cat Mother & Jimi Hendrix – you heard right).
The Sound Field is an interesting listen. Lots of musical colors. Deborah’s voice is surrounded by fine musicianship. Guitars, piano & drums – all pristine. While more melodic & intense Arthur Lee & Love’s long classic “You Set the Scene,” is a cousin of this type of composition. Gamble the 9-minutes — it will grow on your ears. I loved it.
The band: Nic Grabien (bass), Larry Luthi (drums/percussion), Mark Karan (also appeared on a Lauren Murphy LP) plays guitars on 8 tracks. Henry Salvia plays keys on 10 cuts & played with Lauren. The Angel Choir are effectively on 6 songs & Lindley does Lap Steel on 2.
“If We Get Lucky,” is sung more in a restrained tradition of vintage Genya Ravan of Ten Wheel Drive (“Morning Much Better”) & San Francisco’s Lydia Pense of Cold Blood. A dirty blues without horns with an underlying funk – vivid & cohesive. “Cry For Memory,” is a pleasant retro melody. It recalls a more 60s pop female vocal. “Everything About You,” dives into a Pretenders-Chrissie Hyde realm. While “Walk” is different. Likable. One of the best. A little traditional in nature but modernized respectfully. Lovely melody. Something June Tabor or Judy Collins would cover.
Followed by what is as intimate a vocal as DG will be on the LP “Roof Falling In” is a spare piano performance somewhat mediocre but has its beauty.
The 57-minute CD: produced by The Sound Field, Mark Karan & Vadim Canby (percussion). Available @ http://soundfieldband.com/home.htm