Sirens Call

There is no beauty like simple beauty. And what often sounds simple on paper, stringed instruments and a single voice for example, can actually make for a very complex and intriguing work of art. Here a variety of string textures, played by Mark Rogers on tricone resonator, lap steel, and a hundred year old mandolin among other instruments, entwine with his wife Mary Byrne’s baritone guitar and unaffected voice in stark and persuasive ways. This record, their debut as a duo, was recorded live to 2 inch tape in Brooklyn at Galuminum Foil Productions, with minimal overdubs. The sound, much like the music, is straight ahead, natural and very satisfying.

The couple first earned their musical stripes in Atlanta, where Rogers played in the alt-country band Myssouri and after moving north as part of Brooklyn band, The Loom. Byrne sang and played guitar in Atlanta band, Hot Young Priest. Much of the material on I Line My Days Along Your Weight was composed at a time when New York was recovering from Hurricane Sandy, which may account for the melancholy that is one of the music’s strongest flavors. While there are moments here that recall English folk music as well as an American Gothic feel in the chords and fingerpicking and Byrne’s sometimes ghostly singing, this is a very personal conversation between a husband and wife. Sometimes actual biography appears in the lyrics as in “Green Gold Violet” when Byrne sings of having “a valley between us” and “atomic towers overhead.” Although they did not meet until much later, they were both raised on opposite sides of Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna valley, near Three Mile Island. Dying, complete with hospitals, ambulances and more than one song that’s set “in the dead of night,” is a frequent subject and an overarching concern in much of what’s being said here although not all is dark. The closer “Sing A Fare Thee Well,” ups the normally slow tempos a bit and “Cold Spring,” with electric guitar leading the way, is almost jaunty. When passions this austere are combined with a pair of musical voices this distinct, it’s simply alluring.

COMMENTS
Osgood Crinkly III's picture

This is the first review I've ever read which doesn't even mention the name of the recording, I Line My Days Along Your Weight. Could it be because it's so embarrassingly pretentious?

lo fi's picture

Look again and you'll find it in the third sentence of the second paragraph.

Osgood Crinkly III's picture

That's a correction, in response to my post. Originally it read " In Line ..." in italics.

lo fi's picture

;)

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