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Adrienne Young and Little Sadie
Plow To The End Of The Row

Review By Steven Stone
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CD Number: AddieBelle Music 

 

  Take three parts old-timey music, one part modern pop, season with organic crunchy-granola sensibilities and you get Adrienne Young and Little Sadie. Their first album, Plow To The End Of The Row, even includes a packet of seeds so you can start your own organic garden.

Songwriter, claw-hammer banjo player and singer Adrienne Young has assembled a fine young band of like-minded players who are well grounded in old-timey musical styles yet able to combine contemporary influences into their music. Clayton Powell plays fiddle, Tyler Grant plays guitar, Amanda Kowalski plays upright bass and Steven Sandifer plays percussion on Plow To The End Of The Row. Producer Will Kimbrough contributes vocals, guitar, French harp, resonator guitar, banjo, and accordion. The CD's total effect comes across with a seamless and natural rightness that makes you feel like the music has always been around instead of being a new synthesis of styles. The title cut leads off with simple orchestration consisting of just two well-matched voices, guitar and harmonica. Even the most complex musical selection, "Home Remedy," never lets the dense background instrumental textures overshadow the simplicity of the melody.

The packaging, which won a Grammy, contributes to the old-time feeling of the project, with its complete range of earth tones, sepia pictures, floral typefaces, woodblock filigrees, and velum-like paper. Even the recording studio techniques harkens back to an older simpler age. Done entirely with analog tape recording gear, the sonics are warm, round, and slightly soft, which fits the music like a well-worn woolen sweater.

With so much emphasis on "attitude" over substance in modern pop, coming across music that intentionally puts ego and flash in the background while bringing traditional musical forms to the forefront gives this reviewer hope for the future of contemporary pop music.

 

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