Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rose & the Nightingale, Spirit of the Garden

When music breaks boundaries, and it's very good, I tend to be especially attentive. Not that I am not paying attention otherwise, but the truly new gets me going and listening in a fully there sense from the first. Rose & the Nightingale and their Spirit of the Garden (Sunnyside) is very much that. The group has an unusual line-up. Jody Redhage plays cello (as, interestingly enough, she also does on the Brian Landrus CD I reviewed today on the Gapplegate Music Blog), sings, and writes the songs. Sara Caswell plays violin and mandolin. Leala Cyr sings and plays trumpet. And Laila Biali sings and plays piano.

So we have four ladies playing an unusual array of instruments, three of them singing beautifully, often in close harmonies. Sara can solo on violin in a very convincing way as well. There is a bit of scatting too.

All told it is the gentle lyricism of the songs, the pastoral mood, the distinctive voices either solo or in harmony and the unusual instrumentation that makes this one so unusual in the best sort of way. It has sophistication but also an unvarnished sort of innocence, even in the face of a rather harsh world out there.

If you feel bruised up in the course of your daily life, put this one on and I think it will help. In is very mellow, yet there is nothing of the smooth slickness that can ruin such an experience. Recommended!

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