Single Girl, Married Girl – Three Generations of Leaving
While not thrilled about the band name Single Girl, Married Girl (a title borrowed from an old Carter Family song), the music does get off to a wonderful start. It’s a well-recorded 11-track CD with sparkling arrangements, though this is more pop-oriented musically, there’s a thread of rootsy influence.
The all-female vocals dip into 60s girl group territory, lightly. The vocals have zeal, high notes with clarity & the songs are assertive. The final cut “The Flood,” even suggests an Appalachian influence. A stunning little tune with poignant lyrics that melodically skim the edge of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
“So She Runs,” has interweaving percussion mixed with acoustic guitars & orchestration. A treat for the ears. Three Generations of Leaving (Drops Nov 19–Head Bitch Music) is an excellent LP title. Produced by Tom Gardner (Grammy-nominated engineer) who captured the fluency of the vocalists & confidently romantic tunes (“Wreck Cut Loose”). Now that’s not a cliché song title. That’s original. The song that grabbed my earlobe was the wonderful “Looking,” that’s the jewel in this box. I have it on repeat.
While other writers have said the group is steeped in the traditions of Pete Seeger & Joan Baez I don’t hear an iota. This is Canada’s McGarrigle Sisters sweetened.
This LP conceptually traces the trials & traumas of 3 generations of women. The matriarch (50s housewife), daughters (rebellious teens of the 60s), & the estranged granddaughter (faced with modern-day unrealistic expectations/societal demands).
Recorded primarily in NY & additional tracking in LA by Pierre de Reeder. The L.A.-based band is: Chelsey Coy (vocals/banjo) is joined by Shannon Soderlund (harmonies/background vocals), Charlie Rauh (acoustic-electric guitar), John Gray (upright & electric basses), Oskar Haggdahl (drums/percussion). Featured: Haruka Horii (violin), Callie Galvez (cello), Philip Kronengold (organ), & Thad DeBrock (pedal steel/baritone guitar).
At times things get lullaby lush (“Scared To Move”) but structurally remain strong, with the quirky inclusion of what angels play — a harp (Mary Lattimore). The vocals, always hauntingly beautiful. “Secret,” is a pop confection. Chiming guitars definitely rooted in the 60s girl group showcase (The Shangri-Las, Dixie Cups, Chiffons). Nice job – not an imitation, but a total reinvention of that formula. “I’ve got a secret and can’t keep it in, don’t know how long I can carry this sin…”
The band treads dangerously close to sugary pop ala Abba, with banjos. Fortunately, their instinct is sharp & rootsy. Not a poor track produced. Made with versatility as they indulge their musical sensibilities with no repetition. “Runaway” is restrained but powerful, as is “Control” (with Burt Levine on banjo). A winning collection.
The 38-minute CD available @ https://www.singlegirlmarriedgirl.com/