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Recent releases from performers from beyond our borders are in the Ear Bliss spotlight this week. Up first is the new release from the esteemed Australian singer, songwriter and rocker Paul Kelly called "Spring and Fall". From there we head north of the border for the sophomore release from the Canadian duo Whitehorse. Letâ€™s get to it.
"Spring and Fall"
Gawd Aggie Records
A songwriterâ€™s songwriter, Paul Kelly has been making records for a long time. The new "Spring and Fall" is Kellyâ€™s 19th studio release and like past albums, is marked by an uncanny sense of melody combined with a delicate touch as a lyricist. "Spring and Fall" is a collection of folk pop vignettes that are intimate both musically with its mostly acoustic backdrop and in its subject matter, love songs, each one connected to the other as Kelly takes us through the various cycles of love and a relationship and perhaps with a bit of an eye towards mortality. The first two songs, â€śNew Found Yearâ€ť and â€śWhen a Woman Loves a Manâ€ť, begin the cycle with the initial attraction and the blooming of a relationship. The beautiful â€śFor the Agesâ€ť is relationship in full stride, the woman the light of the manâ€™s life and someone for whom he adores everything there is about her from the way she walks to the way the light reflects on her skin. The wine and roses wilt some as the song cycle approaches its end with the relationship moving from burning love and passion to contentment and eventually regret as the final two tracks â€śNone of Your Business Nowâ€ť and â€śLittle Aches and Painsâ€ť may lead the listener to believe. Through it all, Kellyâ€™s touch as singer and songwriter is a masterful one on "Spring and Fall" proving once again he is a songwriter for the ages. Visit www.paulkelly.com.
"The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss"
Six Shooter Records
Hailing from north of the border up in Canada and still a relatively new entity in these environs despite this latest album being their second full-length release as a duo, Whitehorse is a luminous twosome who can play it soft and sweet as easily as they can come unhinged and apply a psychedelic messiness to their folk-ish sounds. Those polar opposites from the sonic perspective keep the listener guessing from track to track and it is a large part of the appeal of the duoâ€™s sophomore release titled "The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss." Whitehorse is Luke Doucet who is known for both his solo work and blistering guitar talent and Melissa McClelland who is both a touring partner and background vocalist for Sarah McLachlan. They each bring their specialties to "The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss," Doucet the distinct guitar tones and McLelland her equally distinct vocals which marry perfectly to the voice of Doucet. That good chemistry is highly evident listening to this 12-track affair beginning with leadoff track â€śAchilleâ€™s Desireâ€ť on which the duo demonstrate their matched vocals to some tastefully dirty guitar tones from Doucet, and extending right through to the slow-burn closer â€śMexico Texacoâ€ť. Recommended.
Local jammers Green Tea team up with Portland, Maine-based roots rockers The Mallet Brothers for a pretty tempting twin bill at The Ocean Mist (895 Matunuck Beach Rd, Matunuck) on Friday night starting at 9. The singer/songwriter Dar Williams comes to Providence on Friday night for an appearance at the Roots Cultural Center (276 Westminster Street). Finally, legendary British blues man John Mayall plays the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA (16 Anawan Street). Music begins at 8 pm.
The German Club in Pawtucket (78 Carter Ave) is the place to be to hear the authentic Creole sounds of Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys who make the trek from their native Louisiana to appear for a dance on Saturday night starting at 7:30 pm.
Get primed for your Super Bowl festivities by checking out the Sunday afternoon series at the Narragansett CafĂ© (25 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown) with Tall Richard & the East Coast Killers doing the honors at the special start time of 1 pm for Super Bowl Sunday. If youâ€™re looking for a Super Bowl alternative, make tracks to The Wood River Inn (1193 Main Street) in Richmond for an evening of acoustic music starting at 6 pm.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 â€“ 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3.)