Watermelon Sugar,
Something to Savor
(independent, 2005)

Watermelon Sugar is a folk duo bonded in friendship that began in Pennsylvania and has endured for 20 years. On this, their second album, Louise Bendall and Hypathia Kingsley are polished but not pretentious. In fact, they sound exactly like two good chums who have gotten together on the back porch just to jam and have fun.

Listening to the interchange of them singing and playing is pleasant. And if that isn't enough for you, maybe you're just too jaded with all the commercial hype out there.

The harmony is nice, the lyrics are smart (and often funny or cynical), the voices blend sweetly. The blend of guitars, banjo, violin and mandolin makes for original music that may remind you of the Indigo Girls. What's not to like?

Like many other musicians, Louise began as a child, singing in choir and taking piano lessons. She didn't pick up the guitar until years later while attending the University of Oregon. Hypathia, on the other hand, is a classically trained violinist who expanded her instrumental and songwriting under the influence of her friend.

The 15 tracks on Something to Savor range from relationships and family life to introspection and politics. Anyone who's ever been in a relationship can relate to "Smile," in which we find the lines, "We've got bills to pay, I've been sick as Hell / I swear I could sit down and cry. / But with you around I can't help but smile." Or, in a relationship of another kind, to "Trouble." Contemporary politics takes a hit in songs like "Republican Shocker" and "Darwin & the Prostitute."

Guest artists on the album are Currie Thompson, lead guitar on "Easy to Love You," Elizabeth Freeman, vocals on "In Common," and Michael Thompson, dobro on "This Bliss."

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
John R. Lindermuth

20 September 2008

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