Sons of the Never Wrong,
King Fisher King
(Waterbug, 2013)

The opening cut on King Fisher King, "Arkansas," opens with a quiet piano figure. Then, however, a Celtic band comes in, pipes and fiddles playing a martial figure. After a chorus of that, the vocals enter, strong three-part harmony and the song marches along, propelled by harmony, pipes, guitars and bouzoukis. It's a glorious and moving song, and sets you up for a powerful album.

But then the CD sort of dies. The second song, "Eve," is a weepy ballad, sung by Sue Demet, with no harmony help from the other members of the band and accompanied by a plucked guitar and a cello.

Far from loving it, I'm wondering what happened to all that power. Although the Sons of the Never Wrong, a trio consisting of Bruce Boyer, Deborah Taper and Demet, offers a variety of songs, they never really cohere as a band again. Instead, the album comes across as a bunch of singer-songwriters trading songs, while backing each other when another member is featured.

They trot out a variety of styles and arrangements, even bringing in a tenor sax on one song, but that just makes the album sound as though it has no core identity. If only all of it were as good as "Arkansas."

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

16 November 2013

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