‘Our Lady of the Tall Trees’ from Cahalen Morrison & Eli West(October 06, 2012)
There’s a measured certainty about some albums, those you know will fall into the ‘outstanding’ category long before you push the CD through the slot. Not only do you relish what to expect, there’s always the anticipation of a hidden surprise inside another dose of what does you good. And ‘Our Lady of the Tall Trees’ from Cahalen Morrison & Eli West does all that and more ... and by the way it’s also a superb illustration of their art.
Taking the essence of their music through a blend of traditions that includes old time American folk, country and bluegrass, Cahalen and Eli impart a vibrant freshness that holds your attention from first to last. The song narratives are enthralling and the interplay between instruments nothing short of scintillating. On ‘Our Lady of the Tall Trees’ Cahalen plays clawhammer banjo, mandolin and lap slide guitar while Eli counterpoints with guitar, bouzouki and clawhammer banjo; a combination that stands head and shoulders above the crowd.
The albumoffers a concoction of finely crafted tracks, among the most notable (to my ears) are the driving ‘Stone to Sand’, the beautifully constructed and delivered ‘A Lady Does Not Often Falter’ their excellent take on the legendary Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’ plus the eponymous and intensely memorable ‘Our Lady of the Tall Trees’. Alongside these stands the memorable ‘Church St. Blues’, and the ‘All For The Sake Of Day’ plus the instrumental ‘legerdemain’ demonstrated through ‘Potluck Dinner/ Vicco Returns From Spain’.
This is an album of tradition that holds on to old time values yet still resides right here, right now. To hear masters of the genre at work grab yourself a copy of ‘Our Lady of the Tall Trees’
Reviewer: Tom Franks