Crowes Pasture – Don’t Blink
For some, their music may take some getting used to but whether Crowe’s Pasture sings originals or Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind,” they emit a drizzle of authenticity. Their songs have an aged sophistication of years ago when perfection & showboating weren’t the sole aim. They sound like a duo that’s rurally expressive & has a genuine instinctive unifying feel.
They’re not as pop-oriented as Nino Tempo & April Stevens (“All Strung Out”), or deeply folky as Ian & Sylvia, or as creative & intense as Richard & Linda Thompson. But the 10 cuts on Don’t Blink (Drops Sept 1–Independent) do show a charming effort by dedicated artists. Monique is the superior singer & on “Get While the Getting is Good,” – this is sung with excellence as a duo.
While this set has a warm traditionally rooted approach the duo’s basic showcase is fairly routine. What makes their vocals interesting is their uniquely different tonality that isn’t run-of-the-mill folky Richard & Mimi Farina style where Mimi’s silky voice was in contrast to Richard’s woolen voice.
What the Massachusetts-based Crowes Pasture offers with its rich consistent fiddling & cross-pollinating vocals of Andy Rogovin (guitar) & Monique Byrne (banjo) is a wholly vintage vocal parfait. Andy’s vocal is somewhat frail & Monque’s borders on experience with grace. Quite a foundation that actually works for them since the differences between their folky unison can be appealing & on this album it is.
This isn’t Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Oysterband with June Tabor, or even The New Seekers with Judith Durham. Crowes Pasture delivers their modest sincere heart & soul-filled efforts. A better production might benefit the duo. Pump up the accompaniment since the only memorable instrument that comes through are the fiddles (Andy Reiner, Alice Hasen & Robin Batteau). The other musicians apparently play well but with laid-back shyness.
This set was produced by the duo with Eric M. Lichter (bass/percussion/keys/dobro/pedal steel guitar/guitar) except for “Take Back the Red, White & Blue,” which was produced by the duo & Neale Eckstein (bass).
Three additional fine performances are “Diamonds,” the exceptional “You At Every Age” & “Barranco” — all sung well with accentuating fiddles. These have tantalizing British folk & Appalachian flavors. “The Night We Met,” sounds like Monique’s solo — quite a compelling & wonderful vocals.
Highlights – “If I Should Fall Behind,” “Caretaker,” “Get While the Getting is Good,” “Diamonds,” “You At Every Age,” “The Night We Met,” “The Night We Met” & “Barranco.”
Color images by Brent Goldman. The 41-minute CD @ https://crowespastureduo.com/product/913760