Steve Martin & Edie Brickell: Music Returns

1 Jun

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell don’t need introduction; Steve’s movies have become a part of American pop culture long time ago; Edie, on the other side, with her characteristic voice and eclectic songwriting (“Circle”, “What I Am”), despite of long breaks between her music projects, always attracts curious ears.

“Love Has Come For You”, their collaborative effort (album release: June 11, 2013) is an inspired mix of bluegrass, folk and country with some pop overtones. Both Edie and Steve seem very comfortable and much at home. Steve’s banjo tells as much story as Edie’s vocal.  It is easy to see how great these songs can sound in live setting; For most part, songs follow traditional structure and vibe, but there are interesting departures (“Fighter”) into almost  Led Zeppelin – style vibe (or perhaps Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – who are, probably not by accident, also on the same label, Rounder records)

Steve’s banjo playing is tasteful and fully in the function of the song; helped by excellent recording quality, solo banjo intros on many songs (“Remember Me This Way”, ”Love Has Come For You”…), very effectively set the stage for Edie’s sorry telling.

Edie Brickell’s performance is more relaxed and in lower register than her fans are accustomed. This is, again, for the good of the songs; Airiness and simplicity, straightforward emotions and down-to-earth feel is what this album is all about.

At times, I wish that production was a bit more organic and earthy; I could easily take songs with less string sections, poppy “oooh, la la la”  backup vocals and occasional synth pads; Steve and Edie’s performances are expressive and strong  enough that they don’t not need any sweetening. But, again, that’s just me. I’ve always been “the less is more” kind of a guy.

The album closes with words “I want to be remembered this way” and, all considered, I believe them. A solid 4/5.

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