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CD Review: The Eighteenth Day Of May

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The Eighteenth Day of May
(Rykodisc)

Not set to be released until early next year in the US; this self-titled CD is something to look forward to. I’m not a bearded folky (although I drink real ale and have a goatee,) so I come at this release from more of a rocker sensibility. That is not a problem with this lot.

At times this band evokes the folk rock of the Tea Party (R.I.P.) especially on tracks like ‘Eighteen Days.’ At other times they evoke the vibe of Blackmore’s Night; especially on their remake of a the traditional tune ‘Lady Margaret’. Like BN, they have an elfin voiced singer in the form of Allison Brice. Just listen to her smooth vocals on ‘Deeds I Do’ to hear the similarity.

This band seems to bring the attitude of a rock band together with the balladry and musicianship of a folk band; at times reminding me of Buffalo Springfield. Traditional instruments are not an after-thought and flow freely into the tracks contained therein.

One minor gripe is that this disc (possibly just a problem with my promo copy) sounded a bit tinny on my stereo system; but sounded great on my iPod shuffle. As with anything of such monumental scope; each listen rewards one with more depth and breadth. There is clearly a great deal of talent on show here and it’s patently obvious why they have a deal with Rykodisc.

Rating: 5/5

I had the pleasure of interviewing the band last week over a few beers, thoughtfully provided by the band’s PR company. Here are some of the highlights. I hope I managed to ask something vaguely coherent as I only received the CD the morning of the interview.

The band recorded and mixed the CD over 14 days. They tried for a low-fi live sound; which turns out is rather large due to fact they are a sextet. The material was written and arranged before they hit the studio.

The name of the band, which might seem odd to some, came about because they had enough material to hit the studio on that date in May. They were also told that the particular date was auspicious for such an endeavor.

They are touring with Robyn Hitchcock in early January for 10 days in the UK; they are also hoping to hit the US around the time of the US launch in March next year, as well as hitting the festival circuit this summer. The band is willing to play for any audience and is not just concentrating on the folk crowd. They have a date at the Dublin Castle in London on the 30th of this month.

Allison, a New Orleans native who left at 17, and I had an interesting chat about her home town and the condition it is in. Her family no longer lives there but she has friends who suffered greatly. She does not know what to expect when she visits again.

The band is very laid back, but very with it and professional. They are all friends, know what they want from each other, and can’t wait to hit the road.

While I haven’t seem them live yet; I look forward to doing so rather soon.

As if this pleasant afternoon wasn’t enough I had the pleasure of being introduced to leader of the cult band Trembling Blues Stars.

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About Marty Dodge