Goodnight Moonshine,
Goodnight Moonshine
(independent, 2014)

Goodnight Moonshine is Molly Venter (from Red Molly) and her husband, Eben Pariser (from Roosevelt Dime), two talented people who fit together musically as comfortably as they do in life. The album is primarily acoustic, pure Americana, but with a contemporary flair that lifts it far out of the ordinary, which did not have to be the case; we've all seen talented individuals join forces, only to lose their way and come up with a project that does not reflect the best of either and fails to gel as a unity.

That isn't the case here. The pair write together naturally -- they explain the ease of writing to be because they have different interests; Venter loves storyline, the sounds of words and phrasing, while Pariser goes more for the technical: composition, harmony and arrangement. Therefore they don't get in each other's way.

There's also no clash of egos here, another factor that sinks a lot of group projects. Listening, it is obvious that these two respect each other and each other's gifts. They blend, give each other room and support one another in both the vocals and the playing.

Let me use a couple of songs as examples: "The Dark Side of the Rainbow" uses the old notion that Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is a perfect soundtrack for The Wizard of Oz as a jumping off point, pairing "Time" with "Over the Rainbow" in a beautiful mashup that makes a new statement about the old classic. It is surprising, deep and beautiful. "Willow Tree" is a wonderful bluegrass song that feels traditional and contemporary at the same time, while Venter's "Gasoline" is a uptempo song about losing love that will stay in your head for a long time.

Since both of these artists have flourishing careers in other bands, there's a possibility that Goodnight Moonshine will be a one-shot deal. That would be a shame. We need to hear more from Venter and Pariser in this format.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

9 August 2014

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