After the Kids are Grown
(self-produced, 2002)

Robert and Rita Pittman are a husband-and-wife duo known as Duece. Their CD After the Kids are Grown is a sweet, homemade record and a tribute to their relationship and their family.

Rita has a lovely and tuneful mature voice and I found it the most appealing part of the CD. Robert's voice is nice, too, but not as captivating as Rita's. Her vocals sail through effortlessly in songs that deal with the challenges and joys of raising a family and being committed as a couple. I get the feeling that the Pittmans are nice people with their priorities in the right place: they put family first and make an important place for creativity.

Unfortunately, the music itself suffers from several first-timer mistakes, which I think could be corrected over time. Like many aspiring songwriters, the Pittmans are heavily influenced by the commercial hits (both current and classic). As a result their writing can sound overly derivative and not really new or unique. The lyrics tend to be predictable and the melodies could be more memorable. In particular, I'd suggest making sure that both the title line and the chorus melodies are strong.

Also, I'd steer clear of the drum machine as much as possible and keep the instrumentation simple and precise. Keep working at it until it's right. The songs would be more successful, in my opinion, if they were produced more simply with tighter playing (which is, admittedly, sometimes easier said than done in a first project).

On the positive side, Duece (shouldn't it be "Deuce"? It's a common misspelling) seems to use real life as their songwriting inspiration and that's a real strength. It's clear that the Pittman's love for each other is alive and flourishing. My suggestion would be to make the writing as specific as possible ... don't worry about being "commercial" or writing a "hit." Just write from the heart and your songs will get better and better.

Three cheers to Lindsey and Daniel, the "Kids" who are now grown up. They agreed to let their parents put their baby pictures on the front cover and their grown-up pictures on the inside. It's wonderful to see a family so supportive of each other in a new creative venture.

- Rambles
written by Joy McKay
published 30 November 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.