APPLEWOOD ROAD - APPLEWOOD ROAD
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release Date: 12th February, 2016
Genre: Americana, Country Blues, Roots
Band Members: Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace
Location: Nashville, Tennessee.
Record Label: Gearbox Records
In September 2014, three very talented songwriters met for the first time in a cafe in East Nashville. By the next morning they had put the finishing touches to their first song, 'Applewood Road', which they recorded live to tape at Nashville's all analogue studio, Welcome to 1979. The song's nostalgic feel, along with the clear, sparse arrangement of three vocals accompanied by double bass, drew immediate positive response and they decided to expand the idea into a full album. Six months later, they reconvened to write, rehearse and record songs for the self-titled album 'Applewood Road'. The songs were again performed live around a single microphone at the Welcome to 1979 studio and recorded to two-track tape with minimal accompaniment from some of Nashville’s finest session players, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Josh Day, Fats Kaplin, Jabe Beyer, and Telisha Williams. The production process remained in the analogue domain. The tapes were assembled at London’s most exclusive high-end mastering suite, 'Gearbox Records', mastered through their vintage analogue outboard and lacquers cut in-house on their own Haeco lathe. The result is an excellent Americana album which manages to balance retro recording techniques with a distinctly modern feel. It proves that less is often more, creating a sublime soundscape.
Applewood Road has a wonderful purity and mark of real quality. An album harking back to simpler times. Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace are all super singer-songwriters in their own right and this album is a great blend of their considerable talents. The album spans the Americana genre from country blues to bluegrass, rockabilly and gospel and it does so with tremendous style and polish.
The album begins with the title track 'Applewood Road', which provided the initial inspiration for the album. Some wonderful close harmonies and slides here soaring above a simple double bass line.
The atmospheric 'To The Stars' gently floats with finger-picked acoustic guitar and close harmonies. Broken only by occasional electric guitar interludes. Reminiscing about the old days of Country roots music 'Old Time Country Song', with it's banjo, fiddle and syncopated acoustic guitar leading through to a sublime acapella ending. The delicate and reflective 'Home Fires' has some gorgeous harmonies above gentle simple finger-picked acoustic guitar. The tempo raises for the almost gospel blues love song 'Honey Won't You'. We love the bass, electric guitar on percussion on this one. Another love song with a slower gospel blues feel is 'Give Me Love'. Gentle harmonium and banjo compliments the song perfectly.
The rootsy 'Sad Little Tune' has a old-time Jug-band stomp percussion with harmonica and banjo. With its whistling intro and outro and one of our favourite on the album is the bluegrass love song 'Lovin' Eyes'. Please check out the video below.
Another star song on the album is the bittersweet love story 'Josephine', Some lovely fiddle here complementing the alway tight and lush harmony vocals. We stay in a reflective mood for a song of heartbreak and inner strength 'I'm Not Afraid Anymore'. A lovely slide guitar/pedal steel solo in this one too. Moving on with life and leaving is the subject of 'Bring The Car Round'....'open the stable gates.....let the horses free'. Another delicate song with lush harmonies and light percussion is 'Row Boat'. The album ends with another quality written song 'My Love Grows'. A simple song of love and devotion and a great way to finish.
We really hope that Emily, Amber and Amy release Applewood Road 2. There is a lot of room in the world for high quality albums and this is certainly one of them. Wonderful.