[8 January 2009]
Sometimes the old-time spirit just hits some people. Eden Brower and John Heneghan are two such souls. Through 13 songs on their new release, Some Cold Rainy Day, Eden & John’s East River String Band see fit to cover some of the greater and lesser known blues artists from the early part of the twentieth century. The results are charming if sometimes a bit blues-by-numbers.
Maybe it’s the sweetness in Heneghan’s voice or the distracted quality to Brower’s singing, but one senses a bar fight is in order to add a little more grit to the proceedings. Mind you, the music does not need to be ugly; Some Cold Rainy Day just needs to have more of an edge from which to drop into the sinking abyss of humanity. What’s the point of the blues if it doesn’t outright depress you?
Nevertheless, this release manages to be compelling enough for the listener to want the band (including guest pianist Terry Waldo) to keep playing and pushing themselves so we can all have fresh interpretations of great songs in this age of iPhones and Blu-ray technology. When “I Had to Give Up Gin” comes around, you know there’s something special about this band. A little more cultivating in the dirt and they should be good to go.