There's an old saying that goes along the lines of "if you want something doing, give it to a busy man." Well that saying doesn't say anything about deadlines, so here we are at the long overdue review of Matt Cudby & Erin Brown's debut as a duo, "On Shining Wings".
To give context and apology, I was given the album at the tail end of July, made it my album of the week on Along The Tracks back in early August and here we are at the start of September and the review is only just emerging from the chrysalis. Obviously I'd like to apologise to Matt and Erin for the delay, but crucially I need to apologise to you, the reader, especially if you weren't aware of Matt and Erin as it's just possible I may have cost you five weeks when you could have been listening to this album, as I've been fortunate enough to do during that time.
"On Shining Wings" unexpectedly starts with an instrumental, I say unexpectedly, but the first band I heard Erin perform in, No I.D. really knew their way around a good tune, so perhaps I shouldn't have been too surprised and it fair to say Matt and Erin deliver a fine opening set. There are a number of sets distributed across the album, including the delightfully named, "The Lollipop Man's Evil Twin Sister", on which, as with the other tunes on the album, you can almost hear the smile on the duos faces as they play.
It's not exclusively an instrumental album through, which is a good thing when you consider the vocal talents of both the main protagonists, who take turns as both lead and support voice across a number of traditionally orientated songs, that draws on folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic, which gives the album a real sense of variety and certainly on the first few plays that sense of anticipation as to what's to come.
Whilst this is undoubtedly Matt Cudby & Erin Brown's album, there are some wonderful guest appearances by the likes of Adam Brown, Sarah Petts, Terry Craig and Barry Watson who also did the honours behind the desk and it would be remiss of me not to mention the quality of production, which clearly captures a young couple thoroughly enjoying their music and gives the overall sound a real sense of life affirming lift.
This is an album that's easy to recommend, after it's finished delivering the surprises, it continues to deliver a real sense of enjoyment, one that I can personally vouch for, across repeated plays. "On Shining Wings" is an album that makes you feel you should make the effort to catch its creators live, Matt Cudby & Erin Brown, job definitely done and dusted.
|Allen Toussaint: Live 1989 Chicago Blues Festival||Kaia Kater: Nine Pin|
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