Neal & Leandra - Stranger To My Kin

Stranger To My Kin

Neal & Leandra

RHR CD 125

Red House Records
P. O. Box 4044
St. Paul, MN 55104
800/695-4687

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius
(gg10555@yahoo.de)

"Do yourself a favor and listen to them now - and you´ll be able to say you `heard them when"
- Tom Paxton

Neal & Leandra´s latest release Stranger To My Kin is their third for Red House (three previous on their own label) and it showcases the seasoned strength of this husband/wife duo as exquisite singer/songwriters and musicians. Their stories tell of the toll time takes on people as they get older and priorities change. Though they cannot be considered happy songs, in many there is a glimpse of hidden hope and they at least provoke a consideration of what turns one´s own life has taken and that there are possibilities for change as long as you breathe.

Their beautiful and haunting melodies deliver the stories directly under your skin and it takes several repetitions in some cases to get the full impact of single lines. The musical arrangement is always befitting and never intrusive, and it gives room, both solo and in harmony, to their distinct and resonating voices. Most of the instruments used are acoustic with the occasional electric guitar and Hammond B3 organ supporting the mood and mystery.

I´ve been listening to this CD for a week now several times a day and it is still getting better each time around and getting harder to pick favorites.  I´m always surprised when the CD ends as there would have been room for a few more songs.

The booklet contains all the lyrics and lists the participating musicians track by track plus a few photos of the artists.  This is how booklets should be.

Musicians:

Neal Hagberg - vocals, acoustic guitar
Leandra Peak - vocals, acoustic guitar
Gordon Johnson - electric bass
Peter Johnson - drums, percussion
Jeff Victor - Hammond B3 organ, melodica basso, harmonium
Marc Anderson - percussion, drums
Brian Barnes - acoustic guitar
Adrian Farmer - guitar, electric nylon-string guitar
Stevie Beck - autoharp
Rich Dworsky - piano
Jimi Englund - percussion
Jacqueline Ferrier-Ultan - cello
Dirk Freymuth - electric guitar
Rob Genadek - mouth harp
Lonnie Knight - electric guitar
Karen Mueller - dulcimer, bass dulcimer, bouzouki
Joel Sayles - electric bass

Produced by John Scherf

Track List:

  • Penny On The Track  (NH &LP)
  • Ready For Memphis  (NH)
  • Rich  (NH)
  • First Best Friend  (NH)
  • Cry  (NH & LP)
  • Firefly  NH, LP & John Scherf)
  • Wish I´d Never Gone Away  (NH)
  • Less Of You  (NH & LP)
  • Take Me Down To The Water  (NH)
  • Roll Away The Stone  (NH & LP )

Songs written by Neal Hagberg (NH) and Leandra Peak (NH & LP)

Edited by Paula Gregorowicz:

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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