Americana band The Ormewoods are releasing their album The Bedroom Sessions in September 2016. Members Don McCollister and Claire Pearson have put together a collection of 10 tracks that are surprisingly complex despite the limited number of instruments and sound effects used. This in part is due to the wide range of characters and emotions portrayed by Pearson, the female vocalist. From innocent to sensual, joyful to angry, sad to ecstatic, she manages to reflect quite a lot of the richness of the human experience in a very limited amount of playing time.
The Bedroom Sessions has a strong, solid foothold in the Americana and folk genres, using a combination of guitars, banjos, drums, tambourines, and vocals throughout its run. Some of the tracks are just plain fun. The driving beat in the upbeat and uptempo “Sidelines” and “Tonight” will have toes tapping by the first couple of notes. The vocals, both male and female, seem to be have a whole lot of fun during these numbers. “Sidelines” reflects a certain joie de vivre, while “Tonight” seems to be the perfect soundtrack for getting ready to attend a big party.
A couple of the tracks are almost innocently sweet. The driving rhythm in the mid-tempo “I Do” is a little like the beat of a happy heart that is in love. The snapping fingers in “Take Cover”, combined with only vocals and a piano for its first half, make it very attention-grabbing. The innocence in the mid-tempo “Year of Mercy” is combined with a sense of hopefulness conveyed mostly through a driving guitar line.
Two of the songs are very typical love songs—typical in that they are very relatable. The upbeat, mid-tempo “Back to You” could have been sickly sweet but manages to remain cheerful, hesitant, shy, and very hopeful instead. The innocence in “Year of Mercy” is an enthusiastic one due in large part to the driving guitar line, which gives it an overall very hopeful feel.
Some of the less innocent and even darker side of human emotions are also touched upon in this album. The slightly sensual vocals in “Hey Babe” contrast with the innocence in some of the other tunes. The guitar and percussion in this number create a relaxed setting for the female and male vocals to flirt with each other, as if they have no care in the world and are not even worried about their relationship, just enjoying the here and now.
The slower “Delaware Ave” is one of the calmest numbers of the album; the very emotive vocals convey pain that cannot be found in any other place on this LP. The guitar-driven “Sleep Like Strangers” contains a surprising ray of repressed anger that seems to remind listeners that while the world is a good place, there are some darker corners that one sometimes gets stuck in.