(Ajent, 1994)

Tarabridge combines the songwriting talents of Tara Hoffman with the vocal gifts of Hoffman and pal Bridget Morrison. Hoffman also plays 6- and 12-string guitars, Morrison adds bongos, and there's a baker's dozen of backing vocalists and musicians on their debut (and, apparently, only) CD, Gypsys.

Vocally, the duo's sound is reminiscent of the Nields, complementing each other nicely as they weave songs around the low-key arrangements. Lyrically, Hoffman proves to be an artful writer, often dealing -- as folksingers are wont to do -- with heartbreak, like this verse from "Castles."

"I believed in love, but the feeling went away,
I believed in faith, but it seemed too hard to pray,
I believed in you, but you decided not to stay.
Why stay the same?"

Or this, smacking of despair, from "Wandering Aimlessly."

"Goodness is shut out by empty words,
Make sure there's nothing to say,
Even if you feel like maybe you can trust,
Who'd you think believe you anyway?"

There's also a mystical quality in several songs, such as "Gypsy," "The Moon" and "Superstition" -- a mood first set by the cover by Shawn Kresge, depicting the two women as waifish, elfin girls in the woods.

They're good singers and they have good material to work with. So why does Tarabridge seem to have fallen silent since this album came out in 1994? A search on the Internet didn't turn up any answers. Hopefully, they'll resurface soon.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 28 December 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.