Feeling stressed out? Got a mind to strangle the boss? Is that damned rehearsing Slayer tribute band next door driving you up a wall? Yes? Well, I have just the remedy: the opening cut to Nancy Cassady's Memphis, which starts out as lazily as a day off or a good scotch and soda. Backwater Blue is a lover's lament, but it's also, despite sorrowful lyrics, so damned soothing, Bruce Wandmayer's pedal steel almost carrying the listener off to dreamland. Then We Walk in Grace is likewise a dip in cool waters on a hot day, at first wistful but then grateful, almost sighing in its contentment with the small things in life.
But wandering around in a much-needed healing haze isn't the only number on Cassady's dance card. Come on In is an old-styled half-step between Leon Redbone, Doctor John, and the Band, a bit boozy, Dixie-esque, backwater, and trailer park comfortable. Cassady doesn't celebrate the bourgeoisie; she settles in with the jes' folks and loves it. Speaking of The Band, You Don't Like It has a quirky rock feel much like Robbie Robertson's solo releases, halfway between the 60s and an unidentifiable period only he ever touched on, much of it here inferred and laid out in Keith Greeninger's guitars (that Robbie…I've never recovered from his Last Waltz work, and Greeninger's snared some of it here).
Nance sure knows how to choose her crew, too. They all fit into a weave that's tailored to draw the listener in with numerous nuances that gently arise and then float away, as in John R. Burr's piano work in Drowning in Blue (catch him in Broken Wing Blues, too, where he's nowhere near so elusive, much grittier). If I Could, the closer, returns to the restraint of Backwater, a little more folky-gospelly, accent on the folk, Greenlinger providing vocal back-up, Art Alm this time on piano in an elegiac mode reaching for a brighter day. Ms. Cassady may have achieved platinum status with her earlier work for the younguns (KidSongs), but this is a far remove from that, an album for after you've put your offspring to bed. I doubt it'll achieve the status of Kidsongs, but it should.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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