(Signature Sounds, 2005)
The musicians who wear the loose affiliation known as Redbird, started as a chance meeting during a common tour in 2003. New Englanders Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey did a series of shows in England and found themselves sharing songs in their hotel between shows.
Since the three had a love for folk, blues and Americana music, recording a CD together seemed like a great idea. They chose to keep the flavor of those original sessions by recording the CD in a living room on a portable DAT recorder around one stereo microphone. Instruments include guitar, fiddle, mandolin, slide guitar and papoose. Since all three have put out some excellent individual work, I was anxious to hear this collaboration, which also includes David Goodrich. It is a tasteful mixture that includes old jazz standards, traditional tunes, folk, country and contemporary songs.
Since Foucault has a songwriting style that has sometimes been compared to Greg Brown's, the CD opens with a good cover of his tune, "Ships." A version of Irving Mills' Tin Pan Alley tune "Moonglow" shows their diversity. Delmhorst's beautiful vocals are featured on "Patience," "Lighthouse Light" and Peter's Tune." Foucault and Delmhorst share some nice harmonies on Dylan's "Buckets of Rain. "Moonshiner" and "Down By the Sally Gardens" are the CD's two traditional tunes.
Mulvey's vocals are featured on "The Whole World Round" and Delmhorst's "Lullaby 101." Another original track is Goodrich's instrumental, "Redbird Waltz." On the country side is a fun cover of Willie Nelson's "I Gotta Get Drunk," while the contemporary side features a cover of R.E.M's "You Are the Everything." The CD closes with Tom Waits' "Hold On."
It's easy to compare this collaboration to the Cry Cry Cry CD with Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky and Dar Williams, as another example of the enjoyable result of when three talented musicians get together and record some of their favorite songs. Redbird is a great product of three people who share a love of Americana music along with being good musicians and songwriters, and that makes Redbird a very good CD.
by Dave Townsend