The songs can go slightly awry when their lyrics do too much telling and not enough showing. "Here With You Today" has some vivid lines ("Joy rides and broken-down cars/Searching for clarity in smoky bars/Desert sun, icy rain/Hearing that same old song again" but also some dry wordiness: "All the timely misfortunes, all the turns that left me open/Decisions that I feared from opportunity had led me astray/Have led me here to you today." But the only sizable flaw on this CD is the inclusion of a few weak non-originals. The boring "Make It Plain" and the awful "The Distance Between You and I" stick out like sore thumbs (and not just because of the misbegotten grammar) from this otherwise sweet-sounding and tasteful collection. Fortunately Trinity Demask, the group's main songwriter, writes as well as she sings. She and her able partner and team have made a valuable addition to the acoustic-Americana shelf.
CD: Arlan Feiles, Razing a Nation (The Ballad of a New Lone Ranger)
Moving from the music of sweetness to the music of pain, we encounter Arlan Feiles, a folk troubador from New York City with a penchant for war stories. Sometimes you can really hear in people's music where they make their home, and the passionate intensity in Feiles's voice and melodies does indeed suggest the oppressiveness that sometimes makes city life tough to bear. The songs are about soldiers, sometimes literally, other times using battle imagery to express a lover's feelings, almost always looking at life as a battle to be fought. "I Fell" is a rare exception, a simple love song with only a tiny touch of melancholy.
Throughout the CD Feiles's quavery voice, half Adam Duritz and half Dave Matthews, stands front and center against the plain acoustic-guitar background. Other than a little harmonica, occasional piano (all played feelingly by Feiles) and a few backing vocals, that's all there is, but it's enough.