Single Girl, Married Girl

REVIEW: Single Girl, Married Girl – Three Generations of Leaving


Single Girl, Married GirlThree 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 @

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