Another installment of a disk I have enjoyed over the years. I'm trying to keep the Record of the Month posts to be fairly new releases. Classics are going to be ones that are at least 10 years old.
For 2011, I thought I'd focus on debut disks - just to make it more challenging for me. I don't think you'll care one way or the other.
I suppose it can be a "debut" album when all three individual members have releases on their own. I suppose it can be a "debut" disk when it turns out to be their only disk - at least so far. But considering Cry Cry Cry dropped their eponymous disk in 1998, I don't hold out much hope there will be disk #2.
What is lovingly referred to as a "folk supergroup", that term of course is quite an oxymoron. While you might have heard of Dar Williams (someone? anyone? ....other than Jon, that is). And it's possible you might have heard of Lucy Kaplansky (I have two of her solo disks). It is highly unlikely you've heard of Richard Shindell (I hadn't - and I know a thing or two about music).
But just bolstered on the two females of the group, I got the disk all that many years ago. I had a number of their solo disks and thought, well how can this be bad? And it isn't.
Granted, folk music isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's not all "Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley" or all Pete Seeger. As with most generes, there is a fluctuation within the category.
Honestly, I bought it for Williams and Kaplansky, since I enjoy their work so much. I ended it up liking it for Shindell.
The record is worth its price for two songs alone: "Shades of Grey" and "Cold Missouri Waters" and both are Shindell-led. The women certainly have their moments ("the Ballad of Mark Magdalen", "I Know What Kind of Love This Is"). There is a misstep with a cover of R.E.M.'s "Fall on Me". It's a song that never needed to be taken on again.
It's folk music, so you're not getting any fast tempoed songs, though "Shades of Grey" picks up the pace a little.
You might want to sample the tunes at iTunes. It's a good album not a great one, but it has some stellar moments, which is more than you can say about most releases.