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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Love Me in the Dark

Love Me in the Dark

Review by Gary Hill

This is the debut release from a duet. The two making up the group (Steve McCormick and Heather Donavon) share vocal duties. They've created a set of songs that lands in zones that lean toward roots music at times and more modern alternative pop angles at others. There are even things like jazz in the mix at points. The unifying aspect is that it's all quite effective.

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Track by Track Review
Old Soul
The opening track is so cool. It has an almost dreamy element to the arrangement. At its core, though, it's built on folk music and Americana. The blending of male and female vocals is all class.
Circle Up The Wagons
While this number is still rather slow moving and understated, it loses that sense of dream-like status. This still has plenty of Americana built into it, feeling a bit more country based. The vocals are mainly male on this one, but there are female backing vocals lending flavor to it. I love the sound of the electric guitar fills on this thing. The tune is another winner on a set that's packed with great music.
Riding Wind
Somehow I can almost make out a fusion element to this number. Don't get me wrong, the main basis is in a country-based southern-rock kind of thing. There are just some angles to this that feel a bit jazzy. This occupies a lot of the same territory as The Eagles, though. While it's faster than the first two cuts, it's more of a mid-tempo piece. This feels like the kind of thing that would have been very much at home on the radio in the 1970s.
Move Like Africa
While this starts out mellower and slower, it gets more energy and intensity as it grows. There is a sedate kind of alternative pop angle to this. Of course, it's also informed by the roots music that is present throughout the set.
Heart Attack
With a more pure country sound and female lead vocals, this reminds me of the mellower end of Lone Justice. The guitar fills are classy, but the whole tune is so strong. This is more or less a ballad.
Baby Bird
The dreamy alternative pop quality is back on this piece. It has a great vibe and energy to it. While this still has Americana roots music in the mix, it is also very much set in an alternative modern zone.
While this is in a similar zone as the previous one, it also brings a bit more pure roots sound to bear. It's another classy number.
Surreal To Me
The title to this seems appropriate, as this number has a surreal, dreamy air to it. It's slow moving, trippy and pretty. Yet, it's still rooted in the same basic elements we've heard throughout.
Imma Hold you To It
I mentioned earlier that one of the songs had some jazz in the mix. This one jumps into the end of the pool with a vengeance. The horns and organ lend some great retro textures. The fuzzy guitar is a nice touch. The female vocals have an almost soulful edge to them. This is the biggest piece of variety here. It's also one of the highlights of the set.
Another with a healthy helping of that alternative edge to it, there is still plenty of country in the mix on this number. I dig the electric guitar sound on this.
Runs Deep
With a real gospel kind of vibe, the arrangement on this is a bit proggy. It's keyboard dominated and features female lead vocals. While I appreciate the variety this brings, I am not sure that it's the best choice for closer.
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