A coming together of Grammy-nominated bassist Shelby Means, singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist Mary Lucey-Cardine, guitarist Joel Timmons and slide guitar player Billy Cardine, this six-track EP marks their first recorded work. An acoustic-based collection it opens with ‘Walnut Tree’, a Lucey-Cardine number about connecting with nature inspired by a tree in her back garden and featuring her clawhammer banjo work and Billy’s dobro.
Means takes over lead vocal duties with ‘Red Dawn Awakening’, another nature-themed song she wrote as prayer for as friend struggling with cancer, a tempo shifting atmospheric dobro-coloured old school mountain folk number serving reminder that the light will follow the darkness.
Penned by Timmons and Means in their early courtship days and originally recorded by them under their own duo name as Sally & George, ‘Love Is Gonna Live’ has them duetting on a straightforward celebration of renewal and how “Love is gonna live in this house again.”
The similarly bluegrass infused but slightly more uptempo ‘Love Brewed Cold’, written and sung by Mary, continues the theme with a different spin of how, after things seem to have been done and dusted and the heart’s had time to heal, your lover comes back and it all sparks up again.
The last of the original material, the chugging groove ‘Great Expectations’ has writer Joel back on vocals and whistling, and the girls doing the oooh oohing on a song that came about after, while on tour with Sol Driven Train, the van broke down and they missed the chance of opening for Sheryl Crow in South Carolina, but ended up chilling at a small Ohio festival, the message being that things are what they’re meant to be and “it is what it is”.
Joel taking lead, they end showcasing their three-part harmonies, Timmons’ brushed snares and Cardine’s dobro on a fine cover of ‘California Stars’, the unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyric set to music by Jeff Tweedy, a relaxed and warmly snug end to a very promising debut. Take the plunge.
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Artists’ website: www.loversleapband.com
‘Walnut Tree’ – live: