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Some Bright Morning

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Album Review

Rani Arbo has one of the finest, most expressive voices in the folk music world, and on Some Bright Morning she uses it to great effect on a diverse program of songs. Like all great folk singers, Arbo has an understated way with a lyric, delivering great emotion with a quiet, unassuming delivery. The arrangements she puts together with Daisy Mayhem, her cryptically named backing trio, draw on bluegrass, swing, folk, pop, Cajun, and jam band influences without fitting easily into any pigeon hole. She has jokingly called her music "agnostic Gospel songs", and it's an apt tag. The songs have a deeply spiritual feeling, even when they celebrate secular subjects. Some Bright Morning, like most of her albums, is beautifully balanced between traditional songs, covers of her favorite singers, and original tunes by the band. There's not a weak track on this luminous recording, and there are plenty of stunners. "Bridges" is a song about meteorological and emotional disasters in which Arbo's mournful fiddling, Mark Erelli's crying steel, and her quietly distressed vocal imply everything. "Little Johnny Brown" is a simple, traditional song from the Georgia Sea Islands, given a haunted, bluesy reading marked by the ensemble's call and response vocals, Anand Nayak's gritty slide guitar, and clanking percussion. "Crossing the Bar" is a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson that Arbo set to a folky, gospel-flavored melody, delivered by Arbo backed only by acoustic guitar and subtle harmony vocals. The band uses a stark, old-time arrangement featuring banjo and sparse sustained notes on the violin for "Fire in the Sky," an original by Andrew Kinsey that describes the pain of an old man watching his family home burn to the ground. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Some Bright Morning, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
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